HC Deb 19 October 1966 vol 734 cc200-1
20. Mr. Dickens

asked the Postmaster-General how many representations he has received from foreign Governments complaining about wavelength interference from pirate radio stations.

Mr. Short

I have received 40 representations from nine countries.

Mr. Dickens

Can my right hon. Friend tell the House what representations he in turn has made to the pirate radio stations and what response they have made to him, if any, on this urgent and important matter?

Mr. Short

The pirate radio stations are operating outside the law, and they know it quite well. We have instituted proceedings against the ones in the Estuary. We have brought forward our Bill, which will come up for Second Reading shortly. Clearly this matter has to end, otherwise there will be chaos in broadcasting in Europe.

Sir Ian Orr-Ewing

Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us what complaints he has furnished to European Governments concerning the 300 radio stations in Europe which are operating on unauthorised wavelengths not approved under the Copenhagen Plan?

Mr. Short

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about the Copenhagen Plan. The more I look into it, the more complicated it becomes. Quite frequently, it is alleged that someone is infringing the agreement when in fact they are not. It is quite possible for some countries to broadcast on wavelengths being used by other countries, but that is worked out by distance, the topography of Europe, and so or. But before any allegations are made about the Vatican or anywhere else, hon. Members ought to get their facts right.

Mr. Ian Gilmour

Will the right hon. Gentleman enumerate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the representations that he has received from other countries?

Mr. Short

I can tell the hon. Gentleman the countries from which I have received them. They are Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Yugoslavia. During the coming winter, the countries which are going to be affected very badly are Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Yugoslavia. I may say that the 40 that I quoted included a very strongly worded note which we received from the Italian Government on 13th September.