Amendment 45

Part of Media Bill - Committee (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords am 6:30 pm ar 20 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Lansley Lord Lansley Ceidwadwyr 6:30, 20 Mai 2024

My Lords, Amendment 45 is unrelated to the other amendments in the group, which is described as “miscellaneous”. I might be allowed not to venture any comment on the Government’s technical amendments and confine myself just to say something on Amendment 54A. In light of all the things we have heard about the changing nature of access to television and televisual material—and radio, I suspect—the reliance on digital access and the limitations on access to the wide range of programmes we presently enjoy for those who lack digital connectivity is an issue certainly worth exploring. I commend the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, on tabling Amendment 54A.

My Amendment 45 is really just a probing amendment to find out about the process by which a consultation is to take place before Ofcom conducts its standards code. Noble Lords will recall that in Clause 26 we brought the legislation into line with reality and the public teletext services disappeared, so asking Ofcom to consult those who use it would be unnecessary—pointless.

Strictly speaking, consulting those who use television programmes and radio services is perfectly sufficient for the standards code. However, given the standards code and the requirements relating to news impartiality and news accuracy, the special impartiality requirements in Section 320 of the Communications Act, and the fact that the consultation on teletext was about, in a sense, the ways in which broadcasters give the public access to news, I thought it might be helpful to suggest that it might be a good idea for the consultation on the standards code, whenever it happens, to take particular account of how public service broadcasters, by whatever format, set out to give the public access to news, in line with the standards objectives. I am hoping that Ministers would commend that, whether we need to write it into the Bill or not, and that it might be given special attention rather than simply being ignored when we lose teletext and its reference to news in the standards code. I beg to move Amendment 45.