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Broadcasting: Political Balance

Volume 711: debated on Monday 8 June 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they have in place to ensure party political balance in broadcasting. [HL3905]

Responsibility for what is broadcast on television and radio rests with the broadcasters and the organisations that regulate broadcasting: the Office of Communications (Ofcom), the BBC Trust and the Welsh Fourth Channel Authority (S4C). These organisations are independent of Government and are responsible for safeguarding the public interest in broadcasting—they set out the rules and guidance with which broadcasters must comply.

The BBC charter and agreement contain specific and detailed provisions on impartiality. A requirement has been placed on the BBC to treat controversial subjects with due accuracy and impartiality, both in the corporation's news services and in the more general field of programmes dealing with matters of public policy or industrial controversy.

Similarly, Ofcom's broadcasting code also contains principles to ensure news is reported with due accuracy and impartiality giving due weight to matters and avoiding undue prominence to the views and opinions of particular persons or bodies. This broadcasting code is available on Ofcom's website at