HC Deb 24 June 2002 vol 387 cc644-5W
Mr. Spring

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make it her policy in the forthcoming Communications Bill to place a duty upon(a) the Regulator, (b) Ofcom and (c) the media to promote good race relations in the performance of their functions; and if she will make a statement. [62305]

Dr. Howells

The existing regulatory bodies for communications (the Independent Television Commission, Radio Authority, Radiocommunications Agency, Oftel, the Broadcasting Standards Commission, the BBC and S4C) already have a duty under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, in respect of their public functions, to have regard to the need to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups. It is our intention that Ofcom should similarly be designated.

The draft Communications Bill, which is currently subject to consultation, also contains provisions placing a duty on Ofcom to take appropriate steps for promoting equality of opportunity in relation to employment in broadcasting services and training and retraining for such employment; and a requirement on Ofcom to include in broadcasting licences appropriate conditions requiring licensees to make arrangements for promoting equality of opportunity, including between persons of different racial groups, in relation to employment with the licence holder.