Television: Rules of Coverage - Administration Committee Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

1.  The maintenance of a proper record of proceedings is a primary objective of parliamentary broadcasting. The central principle guiding parliamentary broadcast must remain that the Member speaking is wholly or largely the focus of any broadcast. (Paragraph 9)

2.  We recommend that a small-scale trial using a camera mounted on the Table of the House be conducted on a non-sitting day, involving a mock debate among volunteers from the House's staff or during the next sitting of the UK Youth Parliament, or both. There should be no cost to the public purse of such a trial, beyond staff time; it should be conducted only if the broadcasters are willing to fund the technical costs. (Paragraph 16)

3.  Pictures obtained from such trials should not be broadcast, but should be used to consult political parties, the Government and the Opposition on whether such a camera would be a useful and desirable addition to what is already available. (Paragraph 17)

4.  If a trial proved successful and the House approved introduction of a table-mounted camera, the initial capital costs of the necessary infrastructure should also be borne by the broadcasters rather than the public purse. Future replacement and revenue costs could fall within the House's own broadcasting budget. (Paragraph 18)

5.  The rules of coverage justify tighter shots of Members making speeches than is standard practice at present, and we support the Director of Parliamentary Broadcasting in encouraging our TV directors to provide head and shoulders shots rather than the waist-upwards shots currently preferred. (Paragraph 22)

6.  We are not convinced that more cutaway shots should be provided: the purpose of the broadcasts is to provide coverage of speeches, not varied pictures. (Paragraph 23)

7.  We see no reason to relax restrictions on filming in the public galleries of the House. Parliamentary proceedings occur in the Chamber, Westminster Hall or Committee Rooms, not the galleries. (Paragraph 27)

8.  We see no reason to enable routine filming within the division lobbies during divisions of the House. To do so would add nothing to the record of proceedings provided by parliamentary broadcasting. (Paragraph 32)

9.  We do, however, see the merit in the idea that filming a division in progress might have some educational and explanatory value, and would support in principle the idea of filming a mocked-up division should the Parliament's Education Service seek to do so. (Paragraph 33)

10.  Our proposals would make small, practical changes to the way in which Parliament is broadcast on television but which could, we believe, make coverage of the work done by the House and its committees a little more relaxed, a little more modern in look and a little more appealing to the average viewer while retaining the central and essential principle that the broadcasts accurately portray our proceedings fully and transparently for public information and for the record. (Paragraph 48)

11.  We recommend that the House be invited to approve the amended rules of coverage for television broadcast set out in annex 2 to this Report. (Paragraph 49)

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© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 13 June 2012