Broadcast Talks.

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Information. – in the House of Commons on 4th March 1942.

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Photo of Mr Alfred Edwards Mr Alfred Edwards , Middlesbrough East

asked the Minister of Information whether he is aware that a recently accepted Sunday night postscript was later turned down on the grounds that it criticised the Government; and whether it is the policy of the British Broadcasting Corporation to broadcast only non-critical talks?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

The answer to both parts of the Question is "No."

Photo of Mr Alfred Edwards Mr Alfred Edwards , Middlesbrough East

If I send the right hon. Gentleman a cutting from the newspaper in which this allegation is made, will he be good enough to communicate the facts to the man who made the statement, Mr. Hannan Swaffer, of the "Daily Herald"?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

It is not my business to instruct columnists as to the merits of accuracy.

Photo of Mr Alfred Edwards Mr Alfred Edwards , Middlesbrough East

Does the right hon. Gentleman say that the statement was untrue?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

I have answered the Question. As a matter of fact, I read the broadcast, and it highly praised the Government.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Is it not very unusual for the B.B.C. to allow anything in the nature of criticism against Government policy to be broadcast, and can my right hon. Friend give any instance when anything in the nature of a critical talk was permitted?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

The hon. Gentleman surely realises that his speeches, for instance, are given a very good report on the B.B.C. They try to be as fair as possible. As a matter of fact, many listeners complain at the amount of the space given both to Government and to Opposition speakers.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Seaham

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that I am not speaking of news items, but of broadcasts and postscripts? Is it not the case that very rarely is a Member of the House, for example, permitted to make a speech concerning the war effort in which he is partly critical of the Government's policy?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

The answer is, of course, that Ministers are not invited by the B.B.C. to talk about the merits of the Government.