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Broadcasting Standards

Volume 987: debated on Thursday 3 July 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to set up a body, independent of the broadcasting authorities, permanently to review the application of the standards relating to the broadcasting of obscene, indecent and blasphemous material.

I thank my hon. and learned Friend for that disappointing reply. Bearing in mind the increasing incidence of broadcasts by the IBA that contravene the law on standards and by the BBC that contravene the agreement on standards, and bearing in mind the fact that neither organisation seems to be willing to do anything about it, what advice can my hon. and learned Friend give the House to see that the law and the agreement are enforced?

If there is a suggestion that there has been a breach of the law, it is by no means impossible for those who take that view to consider taking action to enforce the law. On standards generally, I think that to have a body, after the event, monitoring and commenting on a matter of subjective opinion, such as that raised in this question, would be very difficult and not consistent with our present operation of broadcasting.

Can I congratulate the Minister on refusing to set himself up as a sort of Mrs. Grundyite censorial body in these matters? Will he stick to his policies and take no notice of the rather dreadful people behind him?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for what he says but I do not think that my hon. Friend was inviting me to set myself up as that body.