HC Deb 30 June 1965 vol 715 cc594-5
2. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Postmaster-General if he has yet completed his review of broadcasting and television services; what evidence he took to enable him to do so; by what principles he was guided; and if he will now make a statement on his policy regarding the moral, intellectual and other standards which he plans for future radio and television.

The Postmaster-General (Mr. Anthony Wedgwood Benn)

I am not yet ready to make a statement. I outlined the principles which would guide the Government in reaching its decisions in the debate on May 13th.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Postmaster-General realise that television and radio are very powerful instruments which could be used for the national good but which are not so used because they are lacking in taste, in instruction and in other qualities which would benefit the nation? Will he, therefore, take steps to improve these services so as to conform to the items which I have just mentioned?

Mr. Benn

As my hon. and learned Friend knows, programme content is for the broadcasting authorities. While accepting the importance of television and radio for the future of the country, I think my hon. and learned Friend will agree that this constitutes an argument for great care before reaching a decision.

Mr. R. W. Elliot

While accepting what the Postmaster-General has said about programme content being the responsibility of the authorities concerned, may I ask whether he will continue to recognise that the content of programmes shown at the hour when young children are still up continues to be a matter of considerable concern to the parents of young children? Will the right hon. Gentleman continue to exercise his supervision over this type of programme?

Mr. Benn

While very well understanding what the hon. Gentleman has in mind, I must stress that I do not supervise, and neither has any Minister supervised, the programme content of the B.B.C. or I.T.A. But I can assure the hon. Gentleman that all the comments made in this House about programmes are brought to the attention specifically of the governors of the two authorities whose responsibility it is in the ultimate.