HC Deb 04 November 1993 vol 231 c310W
Mr. Gale

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage when he intends to submit his report to the European Commission on the implementation of articles 4 and 5 of the European directive on transfrontier television; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Brooke

The report is being submitted today, and I am placing a copy in the House Libraries. It shows that the great majority of television programming seen in the United Kingdom is of European origin. In particular, the terrestrial channels have each broadcast around 70 per cent. European material and have met in full the requirement to broadcast a proportion of programming independently produced within the Community. These channels continue to account for over 90 per cent. of viewing as assessed by television ratings.

Many of the new satellite channels licensed in the United Kingdom have also reached the targets set in the directive both for European content and for independently produced material. This is very encouraging and vindicates our efforts to encourage diversity and choice in the United Kingdom broadcasting market.

The report also shows, however, that a number of other broadcasters have yet to meet the targets for European and independently produced material referred to in the directive. While it may not be practicable for all of these broadcasters to meet these levels, I am particularly disappointed by the performance of some broadcasters who have fallen well short. All broadcasters licensed in the United Kingdom are bound by the requirements of the directive. As a first step, we shall be writing to all the relevant broadcasters to ask why they have not met the requirements of the directive, what level of European and independently produced material it would be practicable for them to transmit, and over what period of time they could progressively achieve these levels.