HC Deb 17 May 1950 vol 475 cc1197-9
10. Mr. Marples

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will make a statement on his discussion with sports promoters on the question of televising sporting events.

11. Mr. George Thomas

asked the Postmaster-General whether he will make a statement on his discussions with representatives of sporting associations concerning their copyright safeguards in connection with the televising of sports events.

13. Mr. Harrison

asked the Postmaster-General what steps he has taken with regard to the reproduction of sporting events in the television programmes; and if he will make a statement on the negotiations he has had with the responsible organisers of national sports meetings

Mr. Ness Edwards

On 9th May I invited leading personalities in the sports world, representatives of the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Radio Industry Council, to discuss with me questions affecting the inclusion of sporting events in the B.B.C.'s television programmes. My object is to secure, if possible, an increase in the volume of sports television available to the general public in their homes through the B.B.C.'s television service. Full and frank discussion took place on the difficulties felt by the promoters and all the representatives of sporting organisations expressed the view that their legitimate civil interests ought to be protected by a copyright or other legal safeguard.

I expressed my sympathy with the view that those responsible for promoting sporting events should have a reasonable safeguard of their legitimate interests, and I assured the meeting that no licences would be granted permitting the commercial televising of sporting events in places of entertainment without further prior consultation with the promoters. I indicated that it was important to remove from the minds of the public any impression that there was a ban on the showing of sporting events in the B.B.C.'s television programmes for the home. I also suggested that good use might be made of the interval before the Beveridge Broadcasting Committee reported if agreement could be reached for the televising of additional experimental sports items in order to gather experience of the real effect on all interests concerned.

The discussion, in my view, was very helpful and I hope to continue it next week after the various representatives who were present have had time to consult further with their associations.

Mr. Marples

When consulting next week with the various sporting promoters, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that undoubtedly sporting events are at the moment the most effective spectacle on television and, secondly, that we must have an efficient home industry in television if we are to have a successful export industry?

Mr. Ness Edwards

Those matters are borne well in mind.

Mr. Harrison

In view of the tremendous possibilities of television, is the Minister satisfied with the progress being made? Can he assure the public that everything is being done to extend to the fullest the programme for this new form of entertainment and news?

Mr. Ness Edwards

I do not want to anticipate what will arise at the conference next week, but I am very optimistic.

Mr. G. Thomas

Will my right hon. Friend assure us that there is no desire to withhold the television of sporting events from the normal service to people's homes?

Mr. Ness Edwards

I hope to remove that desire.

Mr. Marples

Will the right hon. Gentleman make arrangements to televise some of the English footballers who are playing in South America?