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Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Davies of Oldham on 24 January (WA 153), whether the organisations regulating standards in broadcasting and video production are giving adequate attention to the incidence of bad language and gratuitous violence in programmes and films; and whether they will be requested to have regard to the Government's Respect Agenda in their future approach to these subjects. [HL3801]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government are committed to independent regulation of media. In relation to broadcasting, Parliament has charged Ofcom with maintaining standards, notably to protect children and to protect the general public from harmful and offensive material.
Decisions on broadcast programme standards are a matter for Ofcom to determine independently of government, according to the provisions of the Broadcasting and Communications Acts. Under Section 2.4 of Ofcom's broadcasting code which applies to all broadcasters, programmes must not include material which, taking into account the context, condones or glamorises violent, dangerous or seriously anti-social behaviour and is likely to encourage others to copy such behaviour. This has been in place since July 2005. Ofcom also periodically commissions research which informs the development and interpretation of its code.
Statutory responsibility for classifying videos falls to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). The BBFC's guidelines take into account public opinion on swearing and what is appropriate for the various age-related categories.
Whether they will invite the Secretary of the Cabinet to reconsider his position as ambassador for the Civil Service Islamic Society in view of the possible perception that, in this capacity, he might promote a particular religion within the service. [HL3800]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Sir Gus O'Donnell will continue to act as ambassador for the Civil Service Islamic Society, in addition to providing active support to the full range of other staff networks in the service. These networks play an important part in
13 Feb 2006 : Column WA132
raising awareness of issues relevant to different groups of staff, supporting staff and providing input to action to challenge discrimination and value all areas of diversity.
What discussions they are having with the World Bank with a view to preserving the rainforests of the Democratic Republic of Congo and to promoting the interests of the indigenous forest people there. [HL3809]
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): The Government have been in regular contact with the World Bank about its engagement in the forestry sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We believe that the World Bank's involvement is important in order to reduce the risk of unchecked exploitation of the DRC's forests. In our discussions with the World Bank, we will continue to push for a balanced approach to the development of the DRC forestry sector, one which respects the rights of the DRC's poorest citizensincluding indigenous people. A meeting between the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Great Lakes Region and Genocide Prevention and World Bank staff involved with forestry in the DRC is planned for mid-February.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Davies of Oldham on 30 January (WA 6), whether the rights and duties arising from the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation 1944 need to be read and given effect in a way compatible with the prohibition against torture in the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Convention Against Torture, the European Convention on Human Rights and customary international law. [HL3747]
What representations they are making to the Council of the Football Association in support of the inclusion of black and minority ethnic people on the council in order to make it more representative. [HL3767]
Lord Davies of Oldham: In our ongoing discussions with the football authorities about the governance of football we continue to urge the Football Association to implement the Burns review recommendations including the inclusion of black and ethnic minority people on the FA council.
We are also working closely with the Commission for Racial Equality which is developing race equality action plans with the Football Association, the Premier League, the Football League, the Professional Footballers Association and the Football Foundation.
Lord Davies of Oldham: In our ongoing discussions with the football authorities about the governance of football we continue to urge the Football Association to implement the Burns review recommendations. The FA must use this review to ensure they are fit for purpose in the 21st century and make the necessary changes without delay.
Further to the report by the Children's Commissioner for England, Mr Aynsley-Green, whether they will set up an independent investigation into the care and treatment of children held in immigration detention. [HL3422]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: We have received the report of the Children Commissioner's visit to Yarl's Wood. We are currently giving this report careful consideration and will respond to the commissioner's recommendations in due course. We do not consider it necessary to set up an independent investigation into the care and treatment of children of families in immigration detention. We are confident that the provision of care for detained families at Yarl's Wood is satisfactory.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Department of Health is the lead department on pandemic influenza policy and contingency planning and submitted evidence on behalf of the Government as a whole. The Cabinet Office's Civil Contingencies Secretariat, in support of the lead department and collective decision-making, co-ordinates as necessary contingency planning across government, and contributed to the cross-government submission. Cabinet Office ministers do not in the main have departmental responsibilities in this area.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The UK has long advocated a peaceful settlement to the conflict involving the political parties, the King, and the Maoists.
Since the King dismissed the Nepalese multiparty government and assumed direct power on 1 February 2005, the UK, along with our international partners, has urged all concerned to work towards a negotiated political settlement and the restoration of democracy.
In October 2005, as presidency of the EU, the UK led a director-level EU troika visit to Nepal in which we raised these points with the Government of Nepal and expressed a message of united EU support for multiparty democracy as the core of any sustainable solution to Nepal's problems.
We were disappointed by the King's failure to call a truce in response to the Maoists' four month unilateral ceasefire last year. We also deeply regret the Maoists' return to violence since the end of their ceasefire and the King's recent crackdown on peaceful demonstrations, both of which further reduce the prospects for peace.
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