HC Deb 18 February 1942 vol 377 cc1781-2
25. Sir Leonard Lyle

asked the Minister of Information what steps he is taking in view of the public dissatisfaction over the method in which the British Broadcasting Corporation presents the news of the day, especially in regard to its attempts to minimise or evade the gravity of the news issues with which it deals?

Mr. Bracken

I am not aware of any public dissatisfaction with the B.B.C.'s method of presenting news, apart from the inevitable flow of criticism from listeners of whom many hold widely divergent views on how any particular piece of news ought to be handled. I am satisfied that the B.B.C. pursues no policy of attempting to minimise or evade the gravity of news issues.

Sir L. Lyle

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that, to mention only two cases, Libya and Malaya, the B.B.C. have given an entirely wrong impression of what was happening by the way in which they have presented the news?

Mr. Bracken

I think the presentation of the news varies from time to time. It is as hard to produce a news bulletin as to edit a newspaper, and the quality of each issue of a newspaper differs, but I think the criticisms made in the House are an encouragement to the B.B.C. to do better.

Mr. Granville

Can my right hon. Friend tell the House why it was that there was a delay of 10 hours on Sunday before the people of this country and the British Empire were told of the fall of Singapore?

Mr. Bracken

That does not arise out of the Question.

Sir H. Williams

Has my right hon. Friend heard any adverse comment on the B.B.C's. method of interspersing comment into the middle of official communiqués?

Mr. Bracken

I have not, but I have noticed it myself on one or two occasions. I am in a delicate position, but I have stressed to the B.B.C. the importance of giving the plainest possible news.

Sir Stanley Reed

Will my right hon. Friend make inquiries as to the last war commentary issued by the B.B.C., which was calculated totally to mislead the nation?

Mr. Bracken

I shall certainly make those inquiries.