§ 10. Mr. Mason
asked the Postmaster-General whether, in order to assist him in carrying out his duties under Section 4 of the Television Act, 1954, he will request the Independent Television Authority to make available to him the reports of its Advertising Advisory Committee.
§ Mr. Mason
Why not? Is not the Postmaster-General aware that the Section referred to in the Question states that:… it shall be the duty of the Authority to consult from time to time with the Postmaster-General as to the classes and descriptions of goods or services which must not be advertised and the methods of advertising which must not be employed"?1276 Does the right hon. Gentleman receive reports from the Authority? If he does, why cannot the House be aware of them?
§ Mr. Bevins
Indeed, it is the duty of the Authority to consult me from time to time about the classes and descriptions of goods or services which must not be advertised—some goods and services are, in fact, prohibited from advertising on television—and to consult me on the methods of advertising which must not be employed. That is precisely what the I.T.A. does. The Question on the Order Paper, however, refers to the rather different question of whether the reports of the Advisory Committee should be made available to me.
§ Mr. Mason
Would it not be of assistance to the House and particularly to people who take an interest in this matter —because we are certain that the standards of commercial advertisements can be bettered—if the reports which are made available to the Postmaster-General could be made available in the Library of the House so that we may peruse them?
§ Mr. Bevins
I would not go as far as that. I can, however, say to the hon. Member that the Advisory Committee has recently been considering the rather vexed question, which was ventilated in the Chamber last week, of misleading advertisements, which, perhaps, include substitute products. The Advisory Committee will shortly be putting a report before the Authority which will be coming formally to me to consider.
§ Mr. Ness Edwards
Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the whole population is involved in this matter? This is a question of protecting the population from what have been described as misleading advertisements. Will the Postmaster-General place in the Library of the House the report which he receives from the I.T.A. on this matter?