Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Centre for Justice and Liberty
We are concerned that the publicly funded Radio
Authority and its Chief Executive seem to be acting like a sort
of competitor, lobbying against the interests of the UK independent
Christian/religious broadcast industry instead of helping it to
We value this opportunity to correct, what we
believe was misleading information.
1. John Grogan MP:
". . . you say that religious bodies should
be prohibited from holding national radio licences because of
this, the available spectrum. Could you just amplify the reason
why you think that's the case? . . ."
Radio Authority (RA):
"That is the position of the present legislation,
that has been tested in the European Court and has stood up, so
we think that is right."
This is not the case. The European Court of Human
Rights has not tested, or yet even heard our case. In November
2000, the Court decided not to admit our case. We then submitted
a complaint over misleading information with evidence and the
Court granted a new application number on 14 March 2002, allowing
us to refer to documents already sent to the Court and will deal
with the case as soon as practicable.
The case was based on European Convention Article
14 Prohibition of Discrimination, Article 9 Freedom of Religion
and Article 10 Freedom of Expression.
We question how publicly funded, professional
regulators providing impartial, expert advice to a Parliamentary
Committee could possibly describe this situation as "that
has been tested in the European Court and has stood up".
"There will, as far as we can possibly foresee
only ever be three national commercial radio stations . . . We
think the same applies to national digital radio where there is
a similar, though not quite as intense, limitation on the number
This is the answer we constantly receive, but
no other broadcaster is told of frequency scarcity in the digital
future let alone refused application forms for this reason. Whilst
proclaiming frequency scarcity over Christian Radio, the Radio
Authority recently licensed 10 new national digital radio stations:
Classic, Virgin, TalkSport, Life Contemporary Pop Music, Planet
Rock Music, Core Club Hits, One Word Speech Radio, Prime Time
50s Plus Music, Bloomberg Business Radio and ITN News.
Also, 10 new national digital radio stations
on a second national multiplex were recently allocated to the
BBC. Christian/religious people are banned from all digital applications,
including those that will be available when AM is digitised.
"In New Zealand, which is completely deregulated,
and also imposed no national restrictions on ownership, (apart
from those Maori-owned stations), all New Zealand commercial radio
stations are owned by two groups . . There is no local radio arising
from the locality in New Zealand".
This is not the case in New Zealand. There are
actually two further national networks which carry commercials
but they are Christian. These are Rhema Radio, and Southern Star
which time-shares its frequencies with the Parliamentary Channel.
The third national Christian radio network, Life FM, is being
built up 13 local youth music stations. This has enabled a thriving
Independent Christian Broadcasting Industry, owned, programmed
and run by New Zealanders, to develop and fulfil national demand.