Letter from the directors of the Centre
for Justice and Liberty to the Chairman of the Committee
Thank you to both you and your colleagues for
calling us before your Committee last Monday evening. We hope
we managed to answer your questions clearly and constructively
over the problems facing the UK Christian media broadcast industry.
We reaffirm our willingness to accept the approach
aired by your Committee, namely additional safeguards in place
of the statutory discrimination against ownership, which our industry
currently faces in Clause 232 of the draft Bill.
However, whilst everybody else is moving forward
to light touch regulation, we already comply with the heaviest
regulations applied to any broadcasters in this country. Please
note, these are in addition to the rules currently applying to
all broadcasters. As you can see, a few more are hardly likely
to make much difference.
However, we would ask your Committee to try
to ensure, within any recommendations, that the Authorities do
not simply lift the discriminatory disqualification from the law,
and reword it before adding it into the codes.
In other words, adding to the content rules
would be a waste of time if the end result is the Authorities
not allowing any content at all for Christian broadcasters. In
1990, a similar problem had to be tackled by the House of Commons
Churches Commissioner, when the regulatory authorities tried to
over-rule Parliament over freedom for religious persons or bodies
to be allowed to broadcast advertisements (Hansard, Commons
25 October 1990, column 597-98, Alison).
Lastly, for clarification to Nick Harvey MP's
question, we confirm our support for the news and current affairs
code requiring that any news given (in whatever form) is presented
with due accuracy and impartiality.
24 June 2002