HC Deb 01 June 1967 vol 747 c240
6. Mr. Rowland

asked the Postmaster-General if he will introduce legislation to prevent the use by broadcasting organisations of concealed recording devices, unknown to the person being recorded, in order to obtain information for whatever purpose.

23. Mr. Ian Gilmour

asked the Postmaster-General if he will introduce legislation to prevent broadcasting organisations using secret recording devices to obtain information.

Mr. Edward Short

No, Sir. I am satisfied that the Chairman and Governors of the B.B.C., and the Chairman and members of the I.T.A., are fully aware of the extreme gravity of using recording devices surreptitiously in order to get material for the broadcasting services for which they are answerable.

Mr. Rowland

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that it is widely felt that bugging should be practised if at all only by the police and security forces and not by any journalistic organisation however responsible, careful and illustrious it may be? Will he say a little more precisely what are the rules followed by the B.B.C. and the Independent Television Authority in this matter?

Mr. Short

As my hon. Friend knows, the B.B.C. laid down new rules on 8th April arising out of the incident mentioned in the House previously. This is a matter for the B.B.C, but in essence the permission of the top management of the authority concerned has to be obtained before this can be done.

Mr. Gilmour

I welcome the right hon. Gentleman's first reply as far as it went. However, will he say quite clearly that he thoroughly deplores the use of these devices by the B.B.C?

Mr. Short

No. This is a matter for the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. I have seen their rules which they laid down on 8th April and I think that they will deal with the complaints which have been raised.