HC Deb 15 May 1957 vol 570 cc386-7
9. Mr. Allaun

asked the Postmaster-General whether he is aware that the proposed showing on commercial television of 16 political propaganda films by the Institute of Directors contravenes the provisions of Section 3 (1) (g>) of the Television Act, 1954; and if he will use his powers under Section 9 (2) of that Act to prevent the showing of these films.

Mr. Marples

I am aware that the project was regarded by I.T.A. and the two programme contractors concerned as likely to contravene in certain respects paragraph 6 of the Second Schedule of the Television Act, and as such was not accepted. I understand that the Institute has now made certain amended proposals which are being considered by the Authority and the companies. The second part of the Question does not, therefore, arise.

Mr. Allaun

Is the Postmaster-General aware that the Institute is still pressing the I.T.A. to give way? Does not the whole affair illustrate the danger of placing television. the most powerful. medium that the world has even known for influencing men's ideas, in commercial hands?

Mr. Marples

The Institute has presented amended proposals, and as I do not know what the amended proposals are I cannot say anything about them. But if they are amended suitably, I suppose that the I.T.A. will do its duty under the Schedule to the Act.

Mr. Braine

Can my right hon. Friend say in what way these documentary programmes, designed to illustrate the achievements of British business and industry, contravene the regulations?

Mr. Marples

At the present moment I do not think that anyone can say that, because the films have not been produced. Until I, as Postmaster-General, have seen the evidence, I do not think that I can be expected to pass judgment.

Mr. Ness Edwards

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that these films were withdrawn after this Question was put down for answer in the House? Will he assure himself that the amended films will not contravene the provisions of the Act, especially bearing in mind that he has power to act in this way?

Mr. Marples

The right hon. Gentleman is misinformed. The films have not yet been made; therefore, they cannot be amended.