§ 16. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last met the director-general of the British Broadcasting Corporation and the chairman of the Independent Broadcasting Authority.
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees
As I said in reply earlier today to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner), I last met the governors and the director-general of the BBC on 8 February. I last met the chairman of the IBA yesterday.
§ Mr. McNair-Wilson
When the Home Secretary met the two organisations, did he draw to their attention the article in The Daily Telegraph on 22 January by the former Minister of State, Home Office in which he claimed that there was a serious imbalance in the reporting of matters relating to the police and law breakers, with a bias against the police? If he did draw their attention to their article, what reply did they give?
§ Mr. Madden
Does not the Home Secretary think it extraordinary that the BBC, an organisation that is so touchy about the dangers of interference in its affairs, should have proposals to reduce radically its current affairs coverage, and that these can reach a very advanced stage without the governors even being consulted?
§ Mr. Forman
When the Home Secretary last met the director-general of the BBC did he make it clear that many of us in this House are opposed to the financing of the BBC on the basis of a block grant, as suggested by the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner)? Does the Home Secretary realise that it is much more difficult to take this position if the BBC itself is departing from its original Reithian purpose in many programmes and becoming little less than a benefit match for Michael Parkinson?