§ 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?