HC Deb 07 June 1972 vol 838 cc441-2
25. Mr. Whitehead

asked the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications what communications he has received relating to the exercise of his powers under Sec- tion 12 of the British Broadcasting Corporation Licence and Agreement.

Sir J. Eden

One, Sir.

Mr. Whitehead

One is better than none. Is the Minister aware that tomorrow morning a shipload of Time-Life executives land on these shores to discuss with the BBC further collaborative ventures? Is he aware that the Time-Life organisation, which already makes large sums of money out of BBC sales abroad, has received free plugging on the BBC through advertisements over a period of months and that to some of us this is as shocking as the kind of sports programme to which my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) has referred? Is it not high time that the right hon. Gentleman gently told the BBC that these things are not consistent with Section 12 of the Licence and Agreement?

Sir J. Eden

My views on these matters are exactly the same as those expressed by my predecessor in reply to the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question on 1st March. I am sure that the BBC would be right jealously to guard its financial independence in these matters.

Mr. Selwyn Gummer

Does my right hon. Friend agree that while it may be right for the BBC to do so, it has not done so up to now? Many of us are very worried about this. If it happens again it must happen publicly so that we can see who is negotiating with whom and what terms of agreement have been made. We should not have a situation of an American firm having what appears to be a prescriptive right to make money out of the series on the British Empire.

Sir J. Eden

Following the exchanges which took place in the House on 1st March, the BBC has taken careful note of what was said.

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