HC Deb 18 March 1942 vol 378 cc1487-9
13. Mr. Stokes

asked the Minister of Information when the promised improvements in the quality and accuracy of the news bulletins broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the daily home news broadcasts will be made?

The Minister of Information (Mr. Brendan Bracken)

The Governors of the B.B.C. are always trying to find means of improving the quality of their news bulletins. The accuracy of these news bulletins is not in question: no one familiar with the subject could fail to be impressed with the great pains that are taken by the B.B.C. to ensure accuracy even in the smallest detail:

Mr. Stokes

I put this Question down to the Lord Privy Seal. May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he has studied the speech made by his right hon. and learned Friend on 25th February on the subject of this Question?

Mr. Bracken

I always read with great interest the speeches of the Lord Privy Seal.

Sir H. Williams

Why do the B.B.C. intersperse in official communiqués comments of their own?

Mr. Bracken

I agree with my hon. Friend. I have several times suggested that they should take notice of the suggestion which has been made in this House before. I think that there is an improvement, but reform is always a slow matter.

18. Sir Henry Morris-Jones

asked the Minister of Information whether he is aware of the marked deterioration in the form and matter of the British Broadcasting Corporation news service from the war fronts in recent weeks, that listeners are losing confidence in news broadcasts; and whether it is necessary on military grounds to announce defeats in the form of quotations from enemy bulletins?

Mr. Bracken

No, Sir, I am not aware of any deterioration such as is suggested, although I am very well aware of the extreme difficulty of announcing a long run of bad news without arousing dissatisfaction at the way that it is given. The B.B.C. does not announce defeats in the way suggested.

Sir H. Morris-Jones

Is my right hon. Friend aware that when the situation is developing adversely for us on the war fronts the broadcasts lose their entirely British character and compare unfavourably with the broadcasts of America and Russia? Will he go into this question?

Mr. Bracken

I have gone into it, and I do not understand what the hon. Gentleman means when he says that the broadcasts are un-English, unless he is referring to the broadcasts in Welsh.

Sir H. Morris-Jones

In view of the nature of the Reply, I beg to give notice to raise the matter on the Adjournment.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is a general loss of confidence in the B.B.C. and that if he wants to restore confidence, he should get some Communist speakers on the B.B.C.?