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Press (Royal Commission)

Volume 959: debated on Monday 4 December 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will publish in the Official Report those recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Press which would require action on the part of Her Majesty's Government, indicating what action, if any, has been taken upon each recommendation.

The recommendations in paragraphs 11.3, 14.28, 14.31, 14.32, 14.33, 14.36, 14.38, 15.26 (part), 15.40, 15.42, 17.20, 17.21, 17.23, 17.24, 17.25, 17.29, 17.30, 19.22, 19.30, 19.46 and 19.48 of Cmnd. 6810 call for Government consideration and possible action.The Government's views on the question of press shareholdings in broadcasting (15.26) are set out in the White Paper on Broadcasting—Cmnd. 7294. My hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Employment has been undertaking a lengthy series of consultations on the press charter; this process has not yet been completed. Proposals for reform of section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 have been published as Cmnd. 7285. The Queen's Speech indicated that further proposals would be brought forward to achieve more open government—19.30. The case for anonymity in relation to sexual offences—covered in 19.22—will be examined by the Criminal Law Revision Committee. The recommendation on the special defence of innocent dissemination —19.46—is being considered in connection with the report of the Faulks committee on defamation. The offence of criminal libel—19.48—is being reviewed by the Law Commission. The recommendation as regards zero-rating for value added tax purposes of newspapers and periodicals—11.13—has been noted. The other recommendations are under discussion.