News Bulletins.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Information. – in the House of Commons on 18th February 1942.

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Photo of Sir Charles Lyle Sir Charles Lyle , Bournemouth

asked the Minister of Information what steps he is taking in view of the public dissatisfaction over the method in which the British Broadcasting Corporation presents the news of the day, especially in regard to its attempts to minimise or evade the gravity of the news issues with which it deals?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

I am not aware of any public dissatisfaction with the B.B.C.'s method of presenting news, apart from the inevitable flow of criticism from listeners of whom many hold widely divergent views on how any particular piece of news ought to be handled. I am satisfied that the B.B.C. pursues no policy of attempting to minimise or evade the gravity of news issues.

Photo of Sir Charles Lyle Sir Charles Lyle , Bournemouth

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that, to mention only two cases, Libya and Malaya, the B.B.C. have given an entirely wrong impression of what was happening by the way in which they have presented the news?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

I think the presentation of the news varies from time to time. It is as hard to produce a news bulletin as to edit a newspaper, and the quality of each issue of a newspaper differs, but I think the criticisms made in the House are an encouragement to the B.B.C. to do better.

Photo of Mr Edgar Granville Mr Edgar Granville , Eye

Can my right hon. Friend tell the House why it was that there was a delay of 10 hours on Sunday before the people of this country and the British Empire were told of the fall of Singapore?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

That does not arise out of the Question.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Has my right hon. Friend heard any adverse comment on the B.B.C's. method of interspersing comment into the middle of official communiqués?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

I have not, but I have noticed it myself on one or two occasions. I am in a delicate position, but I have stressed to the B.B.C. the importance of giving the plainest possible news.

Photo of Sir Stanley Reed Sir Stanley Reed , Aylesbury

Will my right hon. Friend make inquiries as to the last war commentary issued by the B.B.C., which was calculated totally to mislead the nation?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

I shall certainly make those inquiries.