BROADCASTING – IMPARTIALITY & EUROPE (EMU) – 29 June 1998

Dr Julian Lewis: If he will make a statement on the (a) provisions in the charter and agreement and (b) legislation which require the British Broadcasting Corporation and independent television and radio to treat politically controversial subjects with due impartiality?

[SUPPLEMENTARY:] I thank the Secretary of State for reminding the House about the statutory and other duties laid on the BBC and ITV to treat politically controversial subjects impartially. Is he aware of the fact that, on one of the most politically controversial subjects of the day – British entry into economic and monetary union – in a recent poll, 65 percent of people declared themselves against it, 33 percent in favour and only 2 percent undecided? In the light of that, will he agree that, if the BBC or ITV, in the months ahead, persist with pursuing a Euro-federalist propaganda initiative in their broadcasts, they will be behaving not only undemocratically, but illegitimately?