The British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust (BSLBT) warmly welcomes Ofcom’s decision to increase the amount of original television programming that is made in sign language for the Deaf Community.

BSLBT is a unique partnership between the UK sign language community and more than 60 UK television channels (see below) that works to improve access to television for Deaf people in line with the provisions of the 2003 Communications Act. 

Since 2007, channels have been allowed to contribute to the funding of BSLBT in lieu of meeting the regulatory requirement to include 30 minutes a month of sign-language programming in their own schedules.

Thanks to this pooling of resources BSLBT has been able to make many hours of high-quality programmes in sign language that could not otherwise have been made. (NOTE: These are not programmes for the hearing to which signing has been added, but original programmes in which communication is in sign language.) BSLBT has also nurtured talent and extended broadcasting expertise within the Deaf Community.

Following the success of the initial period and in line with the provisions of the Act, Ofcom has now decided that the requirement on the relevant television channels will increase over time from 30 minutes a month of sign-language programming to 75 minutes a month. Contribution levels from those channels choosing to support BSLBT instead will rise commensurately.     

Ruth Griffiths, Executive Chair of BSLBT, said: “This is great news. We congratulate the broadcasters and the Deaf community for establishing BSLBT and supporting it over the last eight years. We now look forward to building on that success and providing more and better sign-language programming in the years to come.”

For further information please contact ruth.griffiths@bslbt.co.uk