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HANSARD 1803–20052000s 2003 December 2003 4 December 2003 Written Answers (Commons) CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

Broadcasting (Children)

HC Deb 04 December 2003 vol 415 cc163-4W 163W

§ Mr. Don Foster

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what measures her Department has put in place to safeguard children’s radio; and if she will make a statement; [141406]

(2) what discussions her Department has held with (a) the BBC, (b) commercial broadcasters and (c)other bodies on the establishment of a designated children’s digital radio channel. [141407]

§ Estelle Morris

The licensing of commercial radio services is a matter for the Radio Authority and, from 29 December, Ofcom. This Department has therefore had no discussions about establishing a designated children’s radio channel. The authority as already licensed a number of digital radio services for children and one of the community radio pilot services is a children’s service. In the case of the BBC, Charter Review will provide the occasion for an examination of all aspects of the Corporation’s activities, including its role in relation to children and young people.

§ Mr. Don Foster

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions her Department has held with Ofcom on the(a) rights and (b) needs of children in broadcasting.[141408]


§ Estelle Morris

Ofcom is due to assume the majority of its regulatory functions only on 29 December. To date, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has written to the Chairman of Ofcom asking him to consider proposals for strengthening the existing code on advertising food to children and to inform her of Ofcom’s plans to promote greater media literacy among children.



Sir Edward Heath MP – Old Bexley and Sidcup “I believe children can benefit from radio because it helps them to concentrate on the language – and the meaning behind the language – rather than the distractions of visual images”.

David Lepper, MP – Brighton Pavilion “Radio has a rare capacity to stimulate the imagination and provide information. The portability of the technology means its accessibility is unrivalled, Radio should be more than wall to wall music [of any kind]. Children have a right to that”.

David Drew MP – Stroud “It educates them to use their imagination, and to appreciate the beauty of the spoken word”.

Jim Cunningham MP – Coventry South  “It is of educational value, develops the concentration, raises their awareness of culture… and also makes them think about the issues of the day”.

Jim Dobbin MP – Heywood and Middleton “It teaches listening skills and develops imagination”.

Janet Dean MP – Burton Constituency  “Listening helps to develop the imagination. You can draw pictures in your mind”.

John Maples MP – Stratford-on-Avon [Shadow Foreign Secretary] “I believe children can benefit from radio in numerous ways, especially when the radio programme or channel is devoted entirely to them. Listening to radio helps young children to develop their imagination and concentration span, and also helps them to recognise and use sounds. Through the medium of radio, we can encourage children to understand, and play a part in, Britain’s diverse society. Radio is part of our everyday life and culture, so why shouldn’t children have a say?”

Anne Begg MP – Aberdeen South “It requires listening which is a vital skill to have”.

Richard Allan MP – Sheffield, Hallam  “It is an excellent medium for developing imagination and creativity”.

Valerie Davey MP – Bristol West   “It is like a good friend – shares laughter and music, good ideas and good advice; it can be listened to almost anywhere including the bath and bed, and in the mind’s eye can take children to countries far and near, to outer space and back again. It is great fun!”.

Elfyn Llwyd, PC – Meirionnydd Nant Conwy “It is part of the learning process and an aid to improving communication skills for later life; in addition, it can be a source of amusement and entertainment too!”.

Jenny Tonge MP – Richmond Park “It is still the most accessible medium for children – especially younger ones. They can listen to radio independently of the rest of the family. TV and the internet are still available to more affluent children only”.

Peter Bottomley MP – Worthing West “I support strongly the proposal for radio broadcasting that will interest children and their parents. I was lucky enough to be able, as a child, to enjoy special programmes: they should be available all day”.

Caroline Spelman MP – Meriden “It can help wean them off TV and be used as a learning tool”.

John Randall MP – Uxbridge “I wholeheartedly support the campaign for children’s radio. It can stimulate such imaginative thought. There are always better pictures on radio!”

Jean Corston MP – Bristol East “It helps to develop their listening skills and their powers of imagination”.

Brian Cotter MP – Western-Super-Mare “It stimulates the thoughts and imagination. Hearing a story, for example, without the aid of pictures on a TV is more helpful in this respect”.   .


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