Amendments proposed to the Communications Bill - continued House of Commons

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Enforcement of sections [notification requirements for satellite packagers] and [conditions applying to satellite packagers]
   

Nick Harvey
Mr Richard Allan

NC13

To move the following Clause:—

       'Schedule [Enforcement of sections [notification requirements for satellite packagers] and [conditions applying to satellite packagers]] shall have effect.'.


Power to modify satellite packager notification provisions
   

Nick Harvey
Mr Richard Allan

NC14

To move the following Clause:—

    '(1)   The Secretary of State may by order to modify sections [definition of satellite packagers], [notification requirements for satellite packagers] and [register of designations and satellite packagers] and Part 1 of Schedule [Enforcement of sections [notification requirements for satellite packagers] and [conditions applying to satellite packagers]] in such manner as he thinks fit.

    (2)   The power to make such an order is not to be exercised at any time after the commencement of section [notification requirements for satellite packagers].

    (3)   Before making such an order the Secretary of State must consult—

      (a) OFCOM;

      (b) providers of the must-distribute services or persons appearing to him to represent those providers or both; and

      (c) such persons not falling within the preceding paragraphs as appear to the Secretary of State to be, or to represent, persons likely to be particularly affected by the proposed order.

    (4)   No order is to be made containing provision authorised by this section unless a draft of the order has been laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House.'.


Conditions to secure access to audio-description
   

Mr Simon Thomas

NC15

To move the following Clause:—

    '(1)   It shall be the duty of OFCOM to set such general conditions as they consider appropriate for securing that audio-described television programmes, so far as provided in digital form, are—

      (a) broadcast or otherwise transmitted; and

      (b) made available for reception in an intelligible form,

       by means of the electronic communications networks described in the conditions.'.


Duties of BBC as respects independent productions for radio

   

Michael Fabricant
Mr Andrew Lansley

NC16

To move the following Clause:—

    '(1)   It shall be the duty of the BBC to secure that, in each relevant period, not less than the prescribed percentage of the total amount of time allocated to the broadcasting of qualifying programmes in the radio broadcasting services provided by them is allocated to the broadcasting of a range and diversity of independent productions.

    (2)   In subsection (1)—

      (a) the reference to prescribed percentage is a reference to the percentage which the Secretary of State may by order specify;

      (b) the reference to qualifying programmes is a reference to programmes of such description as the Secretary of State may by order specify as describing the programmes that are to be qualifying programmes for the purposes of that section;

      (c) the reference to independent productions is a reference to programmes of such description as the Secretary of State may by order specify as describing the programmes that are to be independent productions for the purposes of that subsection; and

      (d) the reference to a range of independent productions is a reference to a range of programmes in terms of cost of acquisition as well as in terms of the types of programme involved.

    (3)   Before making an order under subsection (2) above the Secretary of State shall consult with OFCOM.

    (4)   OFCOM shall, in each relevant period, make a report to the Secretary of State on the extent to which the BBC have performed their duty under subsection (1) above in that period.'.


Irish language television programmes

   

Mr Simon Thomas

NC17

To move the following Clause:—

    '.—(1)   The Secretary of State—

      (a) may, for the financial year beginning with 1st April 2004, and

      (b) shall, for each subsequent financial year,

       pay to OFCOM such amount as he may, with the approval of the Treasury, determine to be appropriate for the purposes of this section.

    (2)   Any amount received by OFCOM under subsection (1) shall be carried by them to the credit of a fund established by them under this section, to be known as the Irish Language Television Fund (and any such amount shall accordingly not be regarded as forming part of the revenues of OFCOM).

    (3)   The Fund shall be under the management of a body established for the purposes of this section, which shall be called Coiste Teilifise Gaeilge (the Irish Language Television Committee).

    (4)   Coiste Teilifise Gaeilge shall consist of no more than 10 members, the members and Chairman of the Committee are to be appointed by OFCOM.

    (5)   The committee shall include members nominated by the following bodies—

      (a) Foras na Gaeilge (Irish Language Agency, Cross-Border Language Body);

      (b) Ultach Trust;

      (c) TG4;

      (d) BBC NI;

      (e) The Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission.

    (6)   OFCOM must secure, so far as practicable, that the membership of the Committee is such that the interests of the following are adequately represented—

      (a) the independent television production sector in Northern Ireland;

      (b) other persons and bodies concerned with the promotion of the Irish language in Northern Ireland;

      (c) other persons and bodies concerned with Irish-medium education and the teaching of Irish in the English-medium educational sector in Northern Ireland.

    (7)   When appointing members of the Committee, OFCOM must have regard to—

      (a) the desirability of having members of the committee who are proficient in written and spoken Irish;

      (b) any guidance issued by the Secretary of State for the purposes of this section.

    (8)   The Fund may be applied by the Committee—

      (a) in the making of grants for the following purposes, namely—

      (i) financing the making of television programmes in the Irish language primarily with a view to the broadcasting of such programmes by TG4 and/or other appropriate broadcasters for reception in Northern Ireland and elsewhere;

      (ii) financing the training of persons employed or to be employed in connection with the making of such programmes; and

      (iii) other purposes connected with or related to the making of such programmes; and

      (b) in financing the undertaking of research into the types of television programmes in the Irish language that members of the Irish-speaking community in Northern Ireland would like to be broadcast.

    (9)   When making any grant out of the Fund in pursuance of subsection (8) the Committee may impose such conditions as they think fit, including conditions requiring the grant to be repaid in specified circumstances.

    (10)   The Committee shall perform their functions under this section with respect to the making of grants out of the Fund in such manner as they consider will secure that a wide range of high quality television programmes in the Irish language are broadcast for reception in Northern Ireland.

    (11)   Any sums required by the Secretary of State under subsection (1) shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament.

    (12)   In this section:

       "OFCOM" means the Office of Communications;

       "the Committee" means the body esablished under subsection (3) above;

       "TG4" means the dedicated Irish language station broadcasting from the Republic of Ireland and cited as "Teilifis na Gaeilge" in the Belfast Agreement, Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity: Economic, Social and Cultural Issues, Paragraph 4.'.


BBC statements of programme policy

   

Mr John Whittingdale
Mr John Greenway
Mr Andrew Robathan
Mr Mark Hoban

NC18

To move the following Clause:—

    '(1)   Any agreement made (whether before or after the coming into force of this section) between the BBC and the Secretary of State to regulate the provision of the BBC's services shall include (and in the event the agreement does not so include shall be deemed to include) an obligation on the BBC—

      (a) as soon as practicable after the coming into force of this section and subsequently at annual intervals to prepare and publish a statement of programme policy for each of the BBC's services; and

      (b) for the BBC to monitor its own performance in the carrying out of the proposals contained in the statements.

    (2)   Every statement of programme policy must include—

      (a) proposals for securing that during the following year—

      (i) the public service role of the BBC and the BBC's services will be fulfilled;

      (ii) the functions, duties and obligations of the BBC and the BBC services as set out in the Charter and Agreement will be fulfilled;

      (iii) such other matters as OFCOM may determine from time to time;

      (b) a report on the performance of the BBC in the carrying out, during the period since the previous statement, of the proposals contained in that statement.

    (3)   The BBC shall comply with subsection (4) in the case of a statement of programme policy containing proposals for a significant change.

    (4)   This subsection requires the BBC—

      (a) to consult OFCOM before preparing the statement; and

      (b) to take account, in the preparation of the statement, of any opinions expressed by OFCOM.

    (5)   If it appears to OFCOM that a statement of programme policy has been prepared by the BBC in contravention of a condition imposed under subsection (4), the BBC must—

      (a) revise that statement in accordance with any directions given to it by OFCOM; and

      (b) publish a revision of the statement in accordance with any such directions only after the revision has been approved by OFCOM.

    (6)   A change is a significant change for the purposes of this section if it is a change as a result of which the service would in any year be materially different in character from in previous years.

    (7)   In determining under this section whether a change is a significant change—

      (a) regard must be had to any guidance issued by OFCOM;

      (b) the changes to be considered include any changes that, together with any proposed change for a particular year, would constitute a change occurring gradually over a period of not more than three years; and

      (c) the previous years with which a comparison is to be made must be those immediately preceding the year in which the change is made, or in which the changes comprised in it began to occur.

    (8)   It shall be the duty of OFCOM—

      (a) from time to time to review the guidance for the time being in force for the purposes of this section; and

      (b) to make such revisions of that guidance as they think fit.'.

 
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