HC Deb 10 May 1999 vol 331 c34W
Mr. Swayne

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent representations he has received regarding lifting the restrictions on religious organisations which prevent them holding national terrestrial radio broadcasting licences; and if he will make a statement; [83129]

Mr. Pickthall

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on United Christian Broadcasting's application for a broadcasting licence. [83044]

Janet Anderson

The Broadcasting Act 1990 disqualifies groups whose objectives are wholly or mainly of a religious nature from holding a terrestrial national radio licence issued by the Radio Authority. However, this disqualification does not extend to local, satellite and cable radio licences where the Authority is permitted to licence religious bodies subject to compliance with its religious guidelines. It is under these provisions that, for example, United Christian Broadcasters already holds two satellite broadcast licences from the Radio Authority. A religious organisation can hold a digital satellite radio licence but not a terrestrial digital radio multiplex or sound programme service licence under the 1996 Broadcasting Act.

My Department has received representations from United Christian Broadcasters, from around two hundred Members of Parliament and more than ten thousand representations from members of the public. We are considering these representations and I will be meeting representatives of United Christian Broadcasters on 10 June to explore their concerns more fully.