HC Deb 24 April 1941 vol 371 cc257-8
49. Mr. Hammersley

asked the Minister of Information whether he is aware of the public irritation at the inclusion of inappropriate animadversions in the news items broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation; and if no news is available, will he curtail the time allotted to news?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Information (Mr. Harold Nicolson)

The B.B.C. do not include in their news bulletins any commentaries which are not either supplied or approved by responsible Departments. My right hon. Friend has, however, been aware for some time that irritation is caused if news bulletins fail to be wholly objective and has requested the B.B.C. to render them as factual as possible. He will consider the point raised by the hon. Member in the last part of his Question.

Mr. Hammersley

Is it not a fact that this habit of interlarding the news with items other than news has grown and has been particularly prominent recently, and will the Minister bear in mind the desire of the British people to have at news time the news and nothing but the news?

Mr. Granville

Will my hon. Friend see that the B.B.C. announcers tell their bedtime stories at the right time and not in the middle of the news bulletins?

Mr. Nicolson

My right hon. Friend has made representations to the B.B.C. in that sense.

Mr. G. Strauss

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that what causes a great deal of discontent is the lack of balance in the news—for instance, the fact that very important matters such as serious raids are dismissed in a few words and some small incidents given greater prominence?

Mr. Nicolson

That matter would come under the last point raised by the hon. Member, namely, the allocation of time and the avoidance of padding. I think it is a very important point.

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