HC Deb 09 August 1972 vol 842 cc1705-6
7. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications if, as part of his consideration of ways of dealing with complaints, he will have discussions with the chairmen of the British Broadcasting Corporation and of the Independent Broadcasting Association about making the two organisations answerable to the Press Council for complaints made about them.

Sir J. Eden

No, Sir. I do not believe that the Press Council would be an appropriate body for considering broadcasting matters.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

May I press my right hon. Friend to look at the constitution of the Press Council again? Surely he will agree that the BBC and the IBA are essentially members of the Press and that the council, which was set up as a result of a Royal Commission and which can handle complaints procedure in the sort of way that many of us would welcome, could apply at present to the BBC and the IBA, which by their own monitoring of complaints are putting themselves in the position of Satan trying to rebuke sin.

Sir J. Eden

I will consider the latter observation of my hon. Friend, but the Press Council's job is concerned with the treatment of individuals by journalists and such matters as invasion of privacy and misrepresentation. It has no qualifications for passing judgment on bias. balance, impartiality, taste and so on which are of such importance in broadcasting.