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Bbc Overseas Broadcasts

Volume 529: debated on Monday 5 July 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many programme hours per week the British Broadcasting Corporation was transmitting overseas in 1947; the number currently broadcast; and how this compares with the number of programme hours broadcast at that time and now by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its satellites.


Does the hon. Gentleman agree that, in view of the very large increase in the number of broadcasts by the Soviet Union and the satellite countries, and the decrease in the number of broadcasts by the B.B.C., it would be very unwise further to reduce B.B.C. broadcasts? Can he give an assurance that the proposal to reduce or eliminate certain European services will not be carried out?

I cannot give any such assurance at the moment, but I think the House will be interested to know that the Government of which the hon. Member was a member reduced the programme hours from 713 in 1946 to 564 in 1951, since when they have been slightly increased. At present, the total number of external broadcasts by the free world still greatly exceed that of Soviet Russia and her satellites. In 1952, Russia and her satellites together put out 1,175 programme hours weekly, whereas the total for the N.A.T.O. countries, together with Yugoslavia, was substantially over 2,000 programme hours weekly.

Among the broadcasts from the free nations to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred, is it proposed to broadcast the speech of Mr. Dulles, in which he said, in regard to Guatemala:

"The events of recent months and days add a new and glorious chapter to the already great tradition of the American States."?