HC Deb 30 June 1971 vol 820 cc378-9
14. Mr. Edelman

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications whether he will seek to establish a public communications complaints board to receive and investigate complaints of alleged abuses by the public communications media in connection with private individuals.

Mr. Chataway

No, Sir.

Mr. Edelman

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, while politicians can protect themselves, there are many private citizens who are completely at the mercy of the enormous power wielded by the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. which, although it stops short of slander, can still be abusive to the individual? Will not the right hon. Gentleman consider the appointment of an ombudsman or ombudsmen from whom individuals can seek specific redress?

Mr. Chataway

I agree with the hon. Gentleman that the power of television can be frightening in this respect, and I am sure that we can all think of instances in which we believe that individuals have been extremely unfairly treated. It must, therefore, be a continuing responsibility for those who are charged with the task of acting as trustees for the public thoroughly to investigate any complaint of that kind, but, as I say, I do not necessarily believe that that would be better done by an outside body than by the Governors of the B.B.C. and the members of the I.T.A.