HC Deb 16 June 1936 vol 313 cc811-2
67 and 68. Mr. WISE

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) on what grounds and on whose authority the broadcasting in Malta by the Rediffusion Broadcast Relay Services (Malta) Limited, of church services of all denominations, previously relayed from England under licence from the local government, has been discontinued or suppressed; and whether such action has been taken with the knowledge and the concurrence of His Majesty's Lieutenant-Governor of Malta;

(2) whether he will take steps to safeguard to all subjects of His Majesty in Malta alike the provisions of Article 56 of the Constitution and, in the matter of religious broadcasting, to order the restoration to Rediffusion Broadcast Relay Services (Malta) Limited, of facilities for the broadcasting of church services and addresses of all denominations relayed from England or other parts of the Empire?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Ormsby-Gore)

The matter appears to be one for settlement between the Rediffusion Company and the religious bodies concerned, and it is not easy to see in what manner Government, can effectively intervene with regard to it. It is understood, however, that the company desires to relay religious services provided that this can be done with complete impartiality as between the various denominations. The services have been discontinued for the time being, owing to the fact that it has not yet proved possible for the company to reach an agreement on a basis which is satisfactory to all the religious interests concerned.


Is it not possible for His Majesty's Government to make their attitude very clearly known in order to safeguard the provisions of Article 56, and not to allow this country to be browbeaten by the Italian Archbishop?


I regret my hon. Friend's last phrase. It is not a majority of the Island who are concerned, but various denominations who asked to be catered for. I believe that the special reason is that the relay company can only relay two alternatives. They are endeavouring to adjust the claims between the various religious denominations, and I hope they will succeed in doing so. I am sure that the attitude of the company is quite right in seeing that there is strict impartiality among the different religious denominations.


Has the right hon. Gentleman any information to show whether Malta really wants the services relayed?


Yes, Sir. I understand that representations have been made about it.


Can the right hon. Gentleman make arrangements to hear one of these services?