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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn) moved Amendment No. 94:

Page 17, line 45, leave out ("in which") and insert ("to the extent to which").

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The noble Lord said: I have already spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 30, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 31 [Journalism, literature and art]:

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendment No. 95:

Page 18, line 29, leave out ("the provisions") and insert ("any provision").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Earl of Northesk moved Amendment No. 95A:

Page 18, line 30, after ("publication") insert ("or broadcast").

The noble Earl said: There is a series of amendments here which are very much probing in character. I admit that on the surface the inclusion of the word "broadcast" in Clause 31 adds nothing to its sense. In particular, the current drafting of subsection (6),

    "For the purposes of this Act "publish", in relation to journalistic, literary or artistic material, means make available to the public or any section of the public",

makes it clear that the exemption is as much intended to apply to TV and radio as it is to text-based forms of publication, and I have no difficulty with that. However, it did strike me that it is somewhat less clear as to whether the definition is intended to apply to the Internet, and that is the simple point on which I seek clarity from the Minister. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: There are a number of amendments grouped here, and perhaps it will be useful if I specify them. They are Nos. 95A, 97A, 103A, 103C, 106A, 106B, 106C and 100 to 103 inclusive.

I will deal shortly with the question of publishing. We believe that publishing is adequately defined. As the noble Earl indicated, and I am happy to say, publishing as defined by,

    "make available to the public or any section of the public",

includes any means of making available, including broadcasting, Internet and so forth. We believe that the value of using the general term "publishing" is that it is apt to accommodate in the future any further developments. I hope I am therefore able to give the assurance that the noble Earl looks for. The general use of "publication" in its wider sense, of which I spoke as being apt for our present purposes, is very well known in the law of defamation which periodically over the years has had to consider, for instance, whether a film was libel or slander--such as the well-known case known to every schoolboy of Yusopov and Metro-Goldwyn Meyer, which is now 50 years ago. I hope that that assurance is of assistance.

The Earl of Northesk: I am most grateful to the Minister, and am entirely happy with his reply. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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Viscount Astor moved Amendment No. 95B:

Page 18, line 32, leave out from ("having") to first ("of") in line 33 and insert ("balanced the individual's right to privacy against the principle").

The noble Viscount said: In moving this amendment I wish also to speak to Amendments Nos. 97B, 103B and 106. This is a large group which also includes other amendments from the noble Baronesses, Lady Nicholson and Lady Turner.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Amendment No. 95B is in the next grouping.

Viscount Astor: I believe that I am moving Amendment No. 95B.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Amendment No. 95B is in the next grouping. We have not finished the grouping which started with Amendment No. 95A.

Viscount Astor: I apologise to noble Lords. We have just finished Amendment No. 95A and I believe that we came to Amendment No. 95B. With respect I think I was right; but I stand to be corrected on the groupings.

However, my amendment is rather a scatter-gun approach to Clause 51. It should not necessarily be taken together. The attitude may be, "If one does not work, we will try another". Perhaps I may speak to the amendments in order.

On Amendment No. 95B, the provision attaches little importance to privacy, and emphasises the "special importance" of "freedom of expression". I was therefore concerned that as drafted it was somewhat lacking in balance. Perhaps the Minister will comment on that.

With regard to my Amendment No. 97B, as the clause stands, where the data controller reasonably believes that compliance with the processing safeguards mentioned is "incompatible" with the purposes of the press, arts or literature he can override those safeguards. It seems inappropriate that the safeguards should be automatically subordinated to the interests of the press or other media. I was concerned that the provision amounts to a carte blanche. Again perhaps the noble Lord will comment on it. These are both probing amendments.

My final amendment, Amendment No. 103B, ensures that data controllers have proper regard for the approved codes of conduct.

Amendment No. 106 is grouped with Amendment No. 95B. It concerns the broadcasting industry, the ITV companies, satellite, cable, and the BBC. As it stands the clause requires the data controller--in these instances they are the broadcasters--to take account of designated codes of practice for the purposes of subsection (1)(b): that is, exempting data processing for journalistic purposes when publication would be in the public interest.

It is important to ensure that codes which are designated for the purposes of this section are the existing industry regulatory codes under which broadcasters operate--for example the BBC guidelines, the BSC Code on Fairness and Privacy which applies both to commercial broadcasters and to the BBC, and

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the ITC Programme Code of Practice for commercial broadcasters, which has real regulatory force in terms not only of fines but also in the removal of the licence to broadcast.

Under the Bill as drafted, the commissioner could formulate her own code under powers in Clause 49(3), which covers the same areas that the broadcasters already observe under the ITC code and BBC guidelines. Therefore, there is a risk that there could be a multiplication of regulation, which is certainly not helpful in terms of practice.

I understand that the Government have given this some thought and are prepared to give an assurance that, in practice, the Secretary of State would not designate a commissioner code under Clause 31(3) unless it had been agreed with the industry. That goes some of the way. However, it is not as clear as saying that they would designate a code that was not one of the existing codes which regulate the industry, and that is really the purpose of my amendment. I beg to move.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Brougham and Vaux): It might be helpful to the Committee if the noble Baroness spoke now to her amendments which are grouped with this one. The ones which were grouped to Amendment No. 95A, which was withdrawn, will be dealt with as we come to them.

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne: I am most grateful. I understand that Amendment No. 100 can be referred to later.

I am happy to have an opportunity to speak on this important group of amendments. My amendment, Amendment No. 97, is one that I hope may be considered. I am concerned about the infringement of privacy of individuals. I do not concern myself about public individuals; I am concerned about private individuals. I have been aided in that concept by the reference of the Public Bill Office to the, "privacy of individuals who are neither elected nor appointed to public office". That is the key.

Given that the print media are not subject to the same codes as television and radio, which have a duty of accuracy, impartiality and of ensuring that the viewer and listener understand the difference between fact and opinion, the question of public information in print media has no restraints of any sort in law. This amendment, therefore, tasks the data controller, which in this case would be the editor of the newspaper or the journal, to take into account when considering public interests,

    "the need to avoid unnecessary infringement of the privacy of [private] individuals".

It is a simple amendment and clear in its meaning.

In terms of Amendment No. 105, this would ensure that the Press Complaints Commission code of practice would be on the face of the Bill, or would at least be placed in front of Parliament. The reason for that is the same as the purpose of the previous amendment--namely, to bring in line the print media with radio and television, whereby we have a legislative framework which ensures the excellence of our radio and television output. I believe it is the best in the world and its

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practices are enshrined in the contract with Parliament from which are derived the guidelines which the producers have to follow at the BBC, IBA and in local radio. All the television and radio networks have to follow a like code of practice which has been agreed by Parliament.

I find it difficult to see why the print media could not have the same kind of code of practice. There is the Press Complaints Commission, which has as governors some eminent Members of this Chamber but is largely composed of peer-group leading journalists. They are judging their own work in many instances because the number of owners is so small and the number of editors is relatively small. I put forward in Amendment No. 105 the proposal, which is fully aligned with television and radio legislation, that the PCC code of practice should also be laid in front of the House.

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