Select Committee on Broadcasting First Report


PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE RELATING TO THE REPORT

WEDNESDAY 28 JUNE 2000

Members present:

Mr Eric Clarke, in the Chair


Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Mr Kelvin Hopkins
Mr Roger GaleMr David Lepper
Mr Barry GardinerMr Stephen Pound
Mrs Eileen Gordon


The Committee deliberated.

Draft Report [The Development of Parliamentary Broadcasting], proposed by Mr Roger Gale, brought up and read.

Ordered, That the draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.

Paragraphs 1 to 29 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 30 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 31 to 40 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 41 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 42 to 56 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 57 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 58 to 83 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 84 read, as follows:

    "No good reason for not having a dedicated channel has ever been advanced, and we reluctantly conclude, therefore, that over the years, successive Broadcasting Committees have failed to "keep under review" the availability of access to a dedicated channel, failed to meet the aspirations of Parliament for such a dedicated channel as expressed in debates, surveys and Committee reports and, most signally, failed to deliver, through the use of modern technology, universal access to the Chamber and to the workings of Select and Standing Committees."

Question put, That the paragraph stand part of the Report.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 3Noes, 3
Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Mr Barry Gardiner
Mr Roger GaleMrs Eileen Gordon
Mr Kelvin HopkinsMr David Lepper


Whereupon the Chairman declared himself with the Noes.

Paragraph 85 (now paragraph 84), read, as follows:

    "The procedure for allocating extra television channels is complex. The overall use of spectrum is the responsibility of the Radiocommunications Agency, which is an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry. Once the set multiplexes are agreed, licensing is for the Independent Television Commission in consultation with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. When asked who the BBC would apply to should it wish to have further spectrum specifically to carry the broadcasting of Parliament, Mr Dominic Morris replied:

    "... it is for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and they in turn, would need to work closely with the Radiocommunications Agency to establish where the spectrum is and how easily it is to transmit from a common set of transmitters over the spectrum."

Question put, That the paragraph stand part of the Report.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 3Noes, 4
Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Mr Barry Gardiner
Mr Roger GaleMrs Eileen Gordon
Mr Kelvin HopkinsMr David Lepper
Mr Stephen Pound


Paragraph 86 (now paragraph 84) read, as follows:

    "However, simply because something is complex or difficult does not mean that it should not be attempted. The Committee considers that a senior Member of the House, and a senior Member of the House of Lords, should start negotiations, on behalf of both Houses, with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in order to procure the spectrum required to deliver a dedicated channel.".

Question put, That the paragraph stand part of the Report.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 1Noes, 5
Mr Roger GaleMr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
Mr Barry Gardiner
Mrs Eileen Gordon
Mr David Lepper
Mr Stephen Pound


Paragraphs 87 to 113 (now paragraphs 84 to 110) read and agreed to.

Paragraph 114 (now paragraph 111) read, as follows:

"There is, of course, a precedent for ring-fenced public funding of a service—the BBC World Service. The Committee considers that there is a case for re-examining, in the light of the investment necessary in new technology, whether or not the time has come for Parliament to take possession of Parliamentary Broadcasting, to fund it centrally, to contract out as at present for the generation of the material, and to re-coup such costs as it can from the sale of material to broadcasters at home and overseas."

Question put, That the paragraph stand part of the Report.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 5Noes, 2
Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Mr Barry Gardiner
Mr Roger GaleMr Stephen Pound
Mrs Eileen Gordon
Mr Kelvin Hopkins
Mr David Lepper




Paragraph 114 (now paragraph 111) accordingly agreed to.

Paragraphs 115 to 118 (now paragraphs 112 to 115) read and agreed to.

Paragraph 119 (now paragraph 116) read, as follows:

    "As already stated in paragraph 27, the Committee recognises and appreciates the important role that PARBUL has played during the first ten years of the televising of the House; however, we are by no means certain that its structure is best suited to the provision of both the necessary capital investment and revenue funding to sustain the enhanced service that will be required for the future."

Question put, That the paragraph stand part of the Report.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 6Noes, 1
Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Mr Barry Gardiner
Mr Roger Gale
Mrs Eileen Gordon
Mr Kelvin Hopkins
Mr David Lepper
Mr Stephen Pound





Paragraph 119 (now paragraph 116) accordingly agreed to.

Paragraph 120 (now paragraph 117) read, as follows:

    "Recognising the original intention of the House to enhance the democratic process, as so clearly expressed in earlier debates and reports, and provided that measures are taken to protect the editorial integrity of BBC Parliament from interference by Government or Parliament itself, we recommend that the Supervisor of Parliamentary Broadcasting further explores the possibilities for a wholly owned broadcasting unit, contracted out technical provider and fully-funded Parliamentary Channel. Our first, but not exclusive, preference would be for such a channel to be produced by the public service broadcaster."

Question put, That the paragraph stand part of the Report.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 3Noes, 4
Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Mr Barry Gardiner
Mr Roger GaleMrs Eileen Gordon
Mr Kelvin HopkinsMr David Lepper
Mr Stephen Pound



Paragraphs 121 to 123 (now paragraphs 117 to 119) read and agreed to.

Paragraph 124 (now paragraph 120) read, amended and agreed to.

Annexes agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put, That the Report, as amended, be the First Report of the Committee to the House.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 6Noes, 1
Mr Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Mr Barry Gardiner
Mr Roger Gale
Mrs Eileen Gordon
Mr Kelvin Hopkins
Mr David Lepper
Mr Stephen Pound



Ordered, That the Chairman do make the Report to the House.

Several Papers were ordered to be appended to the Report.

The Committee deliberated further.

[Adjourned till a date and time to be fixed by the Chairman.




 
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