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BBC Red Button Shutdown: Petition demands ‘immediate pause’

The BBC’s plans to imminently close Red Button services is the subject of a substantial protest, supported by over 100 organisations.

The shutdown of the text portion of the service, which is the spiritual successor to Ceefax, will begin to close down from January 30, with further shutdowns scheduled over the next few weeks.

A petition to save the services, organised by the National Federation of the Blind of the UK, has now been handed into both the BBC and 10 Downing Street.

The NFBUK argues the closure of the red button services affects those with sight issues, as well as the the elderly who may not have access to the internet (via BBC).

The petition wants “an immediate pause on the withdrawal of the BBC Red Button Teletext service planned for 30 January 2020” with a view to training and enhancing the service with an accessible speech option.

The NFBUK said the decision “will leave many people, who are already vulnerable, further isolated and marginalised from society.”

Related: BBC iPlayer coming to Sky Q

The BBC made the design to cull the services back in September, sparking an immediate backlash. At the time the BBC cited the proliferation of smartphone use, meaning less people are accessing news and sport via the Red Button.

“It’s always a difficult decision to reduce services, and we don’t take decisions like this lightly, but we have taken it because we have to balance the resources needed to maintain and develop this service with the need to update our systems to give people even better internet-based services. Viewers can still access this information on the BBC website, BBC News and Sport mobile apps – as well as 24-hour news on the BBC News Channel.”

The video-based content, accessible via the Red Button, such as bonus sporting or music festival coverage will continue as usual.

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