HC Deb 13 July 1966 vol 731 cc1430-1
3. Mr. Rowland

asked the Postmaster-General what steps he proposes to take to ensure that national sporting events do not become confined to closed circuit and pay television.

The Postmaster-General (Mr. Edward Short)

I am considering the issues of policy raised by the exclusive televised showing of certain sporting events in cinemas and on pay television.

Mr. Rowland

In thanking my right hon. Friend for that Answer, may I ask whether he does not agree that there is a potential threat to the virtually free mass viewing of public sporting events and that urgent discussion with the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. would be in order from him?

Mr. Short

I agree with my hon. Friend. The problem is that the Conservative Government agreed to allow both big-screen television and pay television to have a trial, and I think that their decision was right. There is, however, a considerable problem thrown up that the greater part of the viewing public are deprived of seeing these events. That is the problem which we are now considering.

Mr. Frederic Harris

In congratulating the right hon. Gentleman on his appointment, may I also ask whether he is aware that from the public's point of view—one gets a lot of letters from one's constituents about this—this is a most unfortunate trend which is taking place? Will the Minister do his utmost to ensure that the sporting public get the opportunity, through the B.B.C., etc., to get a full view of the sporting activities available to them?

Mr. Short indicated assent.