Amendments proposed to the Communications Bill - continued House of Commons

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Action following review under s. [Changes of control of Channel 5]

   

Mr Stephen Timms
Dr Kim Howells

NC40

To move the following Clause:—

    '(1)   If, on a review under subsection (2) of section [Changes of control of Channel 5], it appears to OFCOM that the relevant change of control is or would be prejudicial to one or more of the matters mentioned in subsections (4) and (5) of that section, they shall vary the licence in accordance with subsection (2).

    (2)   The variation—

      (a) must be made with a view to ensuring that the relevant change of control is not prejudicial to any of the matters so mentioned; and

      (b) must be a variation for the inclusion in the licence of such conditions relating to any of those matters as they consider appropriate.

    (3)   Subject to subsection (4), any new or varied condition imposed under this section in relation to any matter may be more onerous than the conditions relating to that matter having effect before the relevant change of control.

    (4)   A variation under this section must not provide for the inclusion of a new or varied condition in a licence unless the new condition, or the condition as varied, is one which (with any necessary modifications) would have been satisfied by the licence holder throughout the twelve months immediately before the relevant date.

    (5)   In subsection (4) "the relevant date" is the date of the relevant change of control or, if earlier, the date on which OFCOM exercise their powers under this section.

    (6)   A variation of a licence under this section shall be effected by the service of a notice of the variation on the licence holder.

    (7)   OFCOM are not to serve a notice of a variation under this section unless they have given the body on whom it is served a reasonable opportunity, after the publication of the report of the review under section [Changes of control of Channel 5], of making representations to them about the variation.

    (8)   Where, in a case of a proposed change of control, a notice varying a licence under this section is served before the change to which it relates takes place, the variation is not to take effect until the change takes place.

    (9)   A condition included in a licence by a variation under this section may be further varied by OFCOM either—

      (a) with the consent of the licence holder; or

      (b) in any other case, after complying with the requirements of section 3(4)(b) of the 1990 Act (variation after giving opportunity for representations by the licence holder).

    (10)   Expressions used in this section and section [Changes of control of Channel 5] have the same meanings in this section as in that.'.


Local content of local sound broadcasting services

   

Brian White

NC41

To move the following Clause:—

    '(1)   It shall be the duty of OFCOM to secure that appropriate local content is included in the programmes broadcast by local sound broadcasting services.

    (2)   In carrying out its duty in subsection (1), OFCOM shall—

      (a) take all local sound broadcasting services receivable in any area together as a whole; and

      (b) take into account the results of research carried out under subsection (7)(a); and

      (c) take into account the extent to which the expectations of listeners for local content (under subsection (7)(a)) are being met by other services receivable within the area; and

      (d) take into account the degree to which any action taken by OFCOM pursuant to this section may affect competition between local sound broadcasting services and any other class of service.

    (3)   OFCOM must draw up or agree a code giving guidance as to how the requirements of subsection (1) should be satisfied and, in doing so, shall have particular regard to the desirability referred to in section 3(3)(c) of promoting and facilitating the development and use of effective forms of self-regulation.

    (4)   The code may, in particular include guidance as to the relevance of different descriptions of local content included in local sound broadcasting services.

    (5)   From time to time, OFCOM may revise the code or direct that it should be revised.

    (6)   The code and every revision of the code should be published in such manner as OFCOM considers appropriate.

    (7)   Before drawing up or revising the code, OFCOM must—

      (a) conduct research into listeners' expectations of local sound broadcasting services and other services receivable within any area concerned, including the extent to which they expect local content to be broadcast; and

      (b) consult with persons holding licences to provide local sound broadcasting services or persons appearing to represent such persons, or both.

    (8)   In this section, "local content", in relation to a local sound broadcasting service, means content (including news or information) which is of particular interest—

      (a) to persons living or working within the area or locality for which the service is provided; or

      (b) to persons living or working within a part of that area or locality; or

      (c) to particular communities living or working within that area or locality.

    (9)   References in this section to persons living or working in an area or locality include references to persons undergoing education or training in that area or locality.

    (10)   A code drawn up as a result of subsection (3) shall not have the effect of varying an existing sound broadcasting licence.'.


Test for setting or modifying conditions or directions

   

Mr Andrew Lansley

NC42

To move the following Clause:—

    '(1)   When exercising any of their Broadcasting Act powers for a competition purpose as defined in section 305, OFCOM must not—

      (a) set a condition or issue a direction; or

      (b) modify such a condition or direction,

       unless they are satisfied that the condition or direction or (as the case may be) the modification satisfies the test in subsection (2).

    (2)   That test is that the condition, direction or modification is—

      (a) objectively justifiable in relation to the services to which it relates;

      (b) not such as to discriminate unduly against particular persons or against a particular description of persons;

      (c) proportionate to what it is intended to achieve; and

      (d) in relation to what it is intended to achieve, transparent.'.


Procedure for setting, modifying and revoking conditions or directions

   

Mr Andrew Lansley

NC43

To move the following Clause:—

    '(1)   In relation to Part 3 of this Act—

      (a) the way in which conditions or directions are to be set or modified when OFCOM are exercising any of their Broadcasting Act powers for a competition purpose is by the publication of a notification setting out the conditions, directions or modifications; and

      (b) the way in which such a condition or direction is to be revoked is by the publication of a notification stating that the condition or direction is revoked.

    (2)   Before setting conditions or directions, or modifying or revoking a condition or direction so set when OFCOM are exercising any of their Broadcasting Act powers OFCOM must publish a notification—

      (a) stating that they are proposing to set, modify or revoke the conditions or directions that are specified in the notification;

      (b) setting out the effect of those conditions, directions, modifications or revocations;

      (c) giving their reasons for making the proposal; and

      (d) specifying the period within which representations may be made to OFCOM about their proposal.

    (3)   That period must end no less than one month after the day of publication of the notification.

    (4)   OFCOM may give effect, with or without modifications, to a proposal with respect to which they have published a notification under subsection (2) only if they have considered every representation about the proposal that is made to them within the period specified in the notification.

    (5)   The publication of a notification under this section must be in such manner as appears to OFCOM to be appropriate for bringing the contents of the notification to the attention of such persons as OFCOM consider appropriate.'.


Setting and publication of guidance and codes

   

Mr Andrew Lansley

NC44

To move the following Clause—

    '(1)   Before setting guidance and codes which includes matters which will have effect to any extent for a competition purpose under a provision of this Part of this Act (other than under sections 291, 294 or 312), of the 1990 Act or of the 1996 Act, OFCOM must publish, in such manner as they think fit, a draft of the proposed guidance or code.

    (2)   After publishing the draft guidance or code, OFCOM must consult every person who holds a relevant licence.

    (3)   Subsections (1) and (2) apply to a proposal by OFCOM to revise any guidance or a code as they apply to a proposal to set such guidance or code.

    (4)   Where OFCOM set guidance or a code, they must publish the guidance or code in such manner as they consider appropriate for bringing it to the attention of the persons who, in their opinion, are likely to be affected by the guidance or code.

    (5)   Where OFCOM revise a guidance or code, they shall similarly publish the guidance or code containing the standards as revised.

    (6)   Where OFCOM publish a guidance or code under subsection (4) or (5), they shall send a copy of it to the Secretary of State.

    (7)   In this section a person who holds a "relevant licence," in relation to draft guidance or a draft code, means—

      (a) to the extent that the draft guidance or code relates to—

      (i) television programme services,

      (ii) the public teletext service, or

      (iii) an additional television service,

       a person who holds a licence under any of Part 1 of the 1990 Act (independent television services), section 18 of the 1996 Act (digital television programme services), section 25 of that Act (digital additional television services), or section 214 of this Act;

      (b) to the extent that the draft guidance or code relates to radio programme services, a person who holds a licence under Part 3 of the 1990 Act (independent radio services), section 60 of the 1996 Act (digital sound performance services) or section 64 of that Act (digital additional services); and

      (c) the BBC and Welsh Authority.'.



 
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Prepared 28 Jan 2003