HC Deb 07 March 1956 vol 549 cc2096-8
30. Mr. Watkins

asked the Postmaster-General, in view of the failure to have a meeting with the East German representatives, what further steps he is asking the British Broadcasting Corporation to take to avoid the interference on the Welsh Regional station.

Dr. Hill

The B.B.C. has provided two V.H.F. stations in Wales and is now building another. Of the two planned for a later stage, one will replace the temporary station at Penmon. These transmissions offer to large numbers of listeners in Wales a positive means of avoiding the foreign interference with the Welsh Home Service.

Apart from these V.H.F. plans the problem is being further considered, and I will write to the hon. Member.

31. Mr. Probert

asked the Postmaster-General what facilities will be made available to hon. Members who desire to give evidence to the British Broadcasting Corporation Welsh Service Committee of Inquiry to obtain copies of scripts in which they allege bias has occurred.

Dr. Hill

The National Broadcasting Council for Wales informs me that the scripts or notes of news bulletins, talks and discussions in the B.B.C. Welsh Service are available at B.B.C. Headquarters at Cardiff for hon. Members to consult or study. The volume of material is very large and spare copies of most scripts do not exist.

Mr. G. Thomas

Does that mean that hon. Members will have to go to the regional headquarters of the B.B.C. to study these documents, or will they be available for hon. Members in the Library of the House?

Dr. Hill

My information is that these documents are available in Cardiff. I have conveyed to the Welsh Broadcasting Council the suggestion that they ought to be more conveniently and widely available, including in London. This is not a matter upon which I can or would wish to direct the B.B.C., but I will, of course, bring to the notice of the Corporation any suggestions which hon. Members may make.

Mr. Ness Edwards

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that this will cause very great difficulty? Will he use his influence with the B.B.C. to make available for Members copies of isolated scripts relating to particular dates on which bias is alleged to have been shown? In addition, will he arrange that copies of scripts shall be available in the Library or in some convenient part of the House, so that they may be consulted by hon. Members?

Dr. Hill

I am glad to have the right hon. Gentleman's support. I shall, of course, seek to persuade the Corporation and the Welsh National Broadcasting Council to make this material available in the form most convenient to hon. Members.

Mr. Watkins

Will the Postmaster-General make available in the Library or in London scripts of broadcasts made in the Welsh language.

Dr. Hill

The Question and Answer cover not only the English language but the Welsh language.

32. Mr. Probert

asked the Postmaster-General whether the inquiry relating to bias on the British Broadcasting Corporation's Welsh service will be conducted in public or in private.

Dr. Hill

The Committee will hear evidence in private.