Clause 3 - Advertising: newspapers, periodicals etc.

Part of Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 1 February 2001.

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Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset 3:00, 1 February 2001

When I was in business many years ago, I had a nasty experience in connection with the words ``publishing'' and ``published'', and the definition of those words is at the heart of the clause. Anyone, who is in business ``publishes'' in the United Kingdom, and in line 35 of clause 19

``references to publishing include any means of publishing''.

I was given a document that allegedly contained a libel by somebody who applied for a job. I passed the document on to somebody else, and was advised by a lawyer that I had ``published'' that document. I thought to myself, ``Surely that is not the meaning of the word `published''', but it is. I have a piece of paper that my hon. Friend the Member for Tewkesbury (Mr. Robertson) has just passed to me in his own handwriting, and he has therefore published this document. If I were now to give it to my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden, I would have published that document to her. That is the legal meaning, as I understand it, of publishing.

Members of the Committee reading the word ``published'' in clause 3 will, I suspect, understand it to mean that somebody gets a printing press, collates the information, and sends it out for publication. In fact, under that definition, a newsagent who passes on something from their shelves, even if it is printed and produced elsewhere, is publishing it. A large number of retailers have been threatened with legal action if they refuse to remove publications from their shelves because they are publishing a libel, or untruth, or something of that nature to which somebody objects.