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Broadcasting (Programme Content)

Volume 84: debated on Monday 21 October 1985

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asked the Prime Minister on how many occasions since May 1979 Her Majesty's Government have tendered advice to the British Broadcasting Corporation or the Independent Broadcasting Authority about its programme content (a) in advance of transmission of a particular item or programme and (b) after the transmission of a particular item or programme, and if she will make a statement.

I have been asked to reply.No central record is kept of contacts between Governmental Departments and the broadcasting authorities on programmes planned by or transmitted by them. The Home Secretary of the day and the Prime Minister have made representations on various occasions since 1979 about the coverage of Irish terrorism, the reporting of the Falklands conflict and the reporting of the views of Sikh extremists in this country. In 1980, the then Foreign Secretary made public his views about the programme "Death of a Princess". When expressing their view, the Government have consistently made it clear that final decisions on the content of programmes are entirely a matter for the broadcasting authorities.