HC Deb 22 November 1938 vol 341 cc1553-4W
Mr. G. Nicholson

asked the Postmaster-General how many transmissions of the Reuters news agency service are sent each day through the Rugby wireless station; whether these messages receive preferential rates; whether the news agency receives any subsidy or financial contribution from His Majesty's Government; whether fees are charged for messages used in newspapers in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or South Africa; and whether these messages are given preference in time of transmission over His Majesty's Government's own service, British official wireless, whose messages are widely published throughout Australia and New Zealand?

Major Tryon

About twenty news messages are transmitted each week day from the Rugby wireless station on behalf of Reuters for simultaneous reception in a number of distant countries. The charges for their transmission are computed on a commercial basis having regard to the volume of the traffic and the conditions of service; and the same principle would be applied in fixing the charges for news messages sent on behalf of any other agency.

At the time of the recent international crisis Reuters were requested by His Majesty's Government to increase their normal service of news to foreign countries by two thousand words a day on the understanding that the additional costs involved would be reimbursed by His Majesty's Government; and Parliament will be asked to vote the necessary funds in due course.

I have no information as to the fees charged by Reuters for the right to use their messages in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or South Africa, nor regarding any wireless reception charges which may be made by the telegraph administrations of those countries. The messages from Rugby are transmitted in accordance with a pre-arranged schedule and are not given any preference in time of transmission over British official wireless messages.