Broadcasts (Complaints)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Information – in the House of Commons on 14th October 1942.

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Photo of General Sir George Jeffreys General Sir George Jeffreys , Petersfield

asked the Minister of Information whether all features of British Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts which might legitimately be regarded as likely to create differences of opinion or offend religious or moral instincts, including the recent play which depicted the defeat of Britain, are first submitted to and passed by the Governors of the British Broadcasting Corporation; and whether public complaints submitted either to the British Broadcasting Corporation or to the Ministry of Information are passed on to the Governors for their guidance?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

I should be exceeding my duty if I were to cross-examine the Governors of the B.B.C. about the arrangements they make for discharging their responsibility for all questions of taste or propriety relating to broadcast programmes. Complaints about such matters addressed to the Ministry of Information are sent to the B.B.C. for the information of the Governors.

Photo of General Sir George Jeffreys General Sir George Jeffreys , Petersfield

Is it not undesirable, from every point of view, that the Prime Minister should be represented as making terms with Hitler after the defeat of Britain, as was done in this play; and can any influence be exercised by my right hon. Friend's Department on this matter?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

I do not know anything about the play to which ray hon. and gallant Friend refers, but I will certainly call the attention of the Governors of the B.B.C. to his complaint. It is very difficult for me to follow every word uttered by the B.B.C., because they issue 3,000,000 words a week.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

If the B.B.C. issued nothing which was likely to lead to difference of opinion, might they not just as well close down altogether?

Photo of Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid Captain Alec Cunningham-Reid , St Marylebone

What is wrong in occasionally reminding the public that we might be defeated?

Photo of Mr Irving Albery Mr Irving Albery , Gravesend

Would not my right hon. Friend suggest to the Governors that they should strengthen their advisory committees, which were weakened at the outbreak of the war?

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

I do not think that advisory committees are the best method of arranging these matters.