Statement from the British Deaf Association, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA
Friday 3rd April 2020
Dear BDA members, colleagues and friends,
Re: Sign Language Interpretations during the CoViD-19 Crisis – statement no.2
The British Deaf Association wrote to the Prime Minister on 31st March 2020 asking for his invention to ensure televised sign language interpretations of the official briefings are relayed on BBC1. This is the only channel accessible to all.
We also asked for his assistance in relation to ensuring similar televised provision for each of the Home Nations’ First Minster’s official briefings.
Thank you to all of you who have contacted me and your positive comments about our campaign to ensure Deaf people are not left out of receiving vital information during this crisis. Some of you have written to your MPs and sent me copies of your emails. That’s absolutely wonderful, and, thank you. I’m also very pleased to receive support from those of you who have Usher as you’ve told me you need the brightly-lit fixed interpreter position on their television screen.
We have now contacted MPs, MSPs, MLAs, and AMs asking for their support in this urgent matter of access to information for all Sign Language users – including those who use Irish Sign Language in Northern Ireland.
Many of you have asked what you can do. There are four things you can do:
1: Contact the Prime Minister
Contact the Prime Minister’s office via this link: https://email.number10.gov.uk Fill out the ‘contact box’ with your details and then you can add the following message (or similar) in the main box:
Please support the British Deaf Association’s campaign for official briefings about the CoViD-19 Crisis to be interpreted in British Sign Language on BBC1, and, for agreed similar local televised provision for each of the Home Nations’ First Minster’s official briefings. Deaf people have a right to full and barrier-free access to information. Don’t leave us out.
2: Contact your MP/MSP/AM/MLA
You can send the same message to your MP. Find your MP here: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/
3: Contact your local newspaper/television company/other local news
You can send the same message to local newspaper, television or radio contacts.
4: Contact your friends/Deaf Club members/organisations/family
Ask them to share the message and contact the Prime Minister, local MP, local newspaper, local radio station, etc.
The BDA will continue to press for BSL interpretations on BBC1. No more back door, ad hoc provision during these worrying times. No more unclear, distant or poorly-lit interpreters. No more moving of the camera angles from close-up to full screen pull-back shots. No more of this leaving Deaf people out of the official briefings.
I hope I can count on your support to hammer home the need for full, barrier-free access and equity with our hearing peers, family and friends. Put bluntly - we shouldn’t be ill or die because information in our sign languages wasn’t easily accessible. Put BSL on BBC1 – now.
British Deaf Association
Delivered in British Sign Language by Linda Richards, Chair of the British Deaf Association.