(VI) GOVERNMENT POWERS IN RELATION TO
BROADCAST CONTENT |
314. Clause 223 gives a two-fold power to Ministers
in relation to broadcast content. The first power, exercisable
by any Minister, is to require the broadcasting or transmission
of an announcement. The second power, exercisable only by a Secretary
of State, is to require a broadcaster "to refrain from including
in their licensed services any matter, or description of matter,
specified in the notice". This broadly replicates the provisions
of section 10 of the Broadcasting Act 1990, which in turn was
preceded by similar powers in earlier legislation. The Government
has stated that it expects these powers to be exercised "in
connection with national security".
Professor Eric Barendt argued that the grounds for using the power
to constrain broadcast content should be limited on the face of
the Bill to those of national security or public safety.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights has similarly recommended
that this power should be more specific.
We agree. We recommend that Clause 223 be amended to specify
the circumstances in which the powers available to the Secretary
of State under subsection (5) may be exercised.
610 EN, para 378. Back
Q 501. Back
JCHR, para 49. Back