Programmes (Sub Judice Items)

Oral Answers to Questions — Wireless and Television – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th July 1968.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Reading 12:00 am, 25th July 1968

asked the Postmaster-General if he will seek to amend the Television Act so as to prohibit references in all programmes other than news programmes tosub judice matters, in the light of the observations of the learned judge in the Court of Appeal in relation to the Savundra case.

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

No, Sir. The law of contempt already applies to broadcasting. Amendments of the kind in question are unnecessary.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Reading

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there have been a number of serious offences of this kind? Has he drawn the attention of both the Chairman of the B.B.C. and the Chairman of the Independent Television Authority to the seriousness of these breaches? It may well be that some future offenders will not be so lucky with their judges as have been those in more recent cases.

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

I agree. There have been serious examples of trial by T.V. and I am sure that the Chairman of the B.B.C. and the Chairman of the I.T.A. share my view and are to do something about it.

Photo of Mr Arthur Davidson Mr Arthur Davidson , Accrington

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the learned judge paid tribute to the work which the broadcasting authorities and the newspapers had done in exposing fraud and other crime? Is he aware that he is quite right to say that the law of contempt is adequate to deal with this sort of thing and that we should have the minimum interference with the freedom of expression?

Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury

I am satisfied that we can leave this serious subject to the Chairmen of the B.B.C. and the I.T.A.