Joint Committee On Human Rights Nineteenth Report

Summary of Conclusions

  1. Although in general we consider that most provisions in the draft Bill are unlikely to cause problems in respect of human rights, we draw attention to the following respects in which the Bill seems to us to require revision in order to provide adequate safeguards for them—

-  The implications for rights to a fair hearing, to respect for private life, and to enjoyment of possessions, of OFCOM's proposed power to require people to provide information for certain purposes (paragraphs 19-25 and 27);

-  The adequacy of safeguards against abuse of the power of the Secretary of State to suspend or restrict a service provider's freedom to provide a service on public safety, public health or national security grounds (paragraph 26);

-  The lack of appropriate safeguards against abuse of the power to forfeit seized wireless telegraphy apparatus (paragraphs 28-36);

-  The power of OFCOM to require broadcasters to broadcast corrections and apologies (paragraphs 41-42);

-  The power of OFCOM to impose conditions on, and suspend the licences of, service providers in certain circumstances (paragraphs 43-46);

-  The breadth of the power of the Secretary of State to require OFCOM to broadcast announcements (paragraph 50);

-  The compatibility with Articles 9 and 10 of the ECHR of the proposed provisions allowing religious groups to hold licences for local radio broadcasting, but not for national radio or television broadcasting (paragraphs 52-57);

-  The compatibility with Article 10 of the ECHR of the proposed duty on OFCOM to do all it can to ensure the prohibition of any political advertisement on television and radio (paragraphs 58-64);

-  The lack of safeguards attaching to the issue and execution of warrants to search for unlicensed television receivers (paragraph 66).

We recommend that the Government should give further attention to these matters when preparing its Bill in the light of the current consultation on the draft Bill.


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Prepared 19 July 2002