Amendment 1

Part of Media Bill - Report and Third Reading – in the House of Lords am 4:00 pm ar 23 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport) 4:00, 23 Mai 2024

I say sorry to the noble Lord, Lord Russell, for going back to being political. But I say to the noble Lord, Lord Watts, that I used to work at the BBC and guess what? Jeremy Paxman and Nick Robinson are also Tories.

Anyway, this is such an important Bill that I will come back to. As I said in Committee, the amendments from the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, ensure that while we both update and future-proof our incredibly invaluable broadcasting media, we do not lose the principles that have made it so unique and internationally renowned. We get, as the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, said, a better balance: in particular, the reinstatement to the Communications Act of the Reithian principles of inform, educate and entertain. At Second Reading, the Minister referred to addressing the concerns of the DCMS Committee report in its pre-legislative scrutiny. The report recommended that the Government retained obligations on PSBs to provide specific genres of content, and the Bill does not. I hope the Minister has considered these concerns as set out in these amendments, which have had support from around the House.

There is a need to enshrine Reithian principles. On the “educate” principle, it is so important for our children today to come together outside the echo chamber that is social media. So many here have supported the matters on which my noble friend Lady Benjamin spoke. With regard to the “entertain” principle, the PSBs, led by the BBC, support and stimulate cultural activity and reflect our nations. They support our creative industries through innovation, skills and training although, as I mentioned in Committee, work still needs to be done on diversity. As for the “inform” principle, PSBs remain essential to UK media, and losing them would leave UK society and democracy worse off.

It is also essential, as the noble Baroness, Lady Fraser, and my noble friend Lord McNally mentioned on Amendment 6, that programmes are commissioned from and made across the UK. In Committee, I argued that the change to Channel 4’s remit potentially undermines this. I did not get much support, but I still stand by that argument.

My noble friend Lord Addington eloquently and persuasively argued to update access to listed events, particularly for clips and excerpts. I return to the words of my noble friend whom I call Baroness Flo—who cannot listen to her and accept what she says and argues for? I point out to the Minister that all she is asking for is a review.

This Bill is much needed. I welcome it. With more time, it could have been even better, but I hope that the Minister agrees to the amendments and makes it as good as possible.