There are two Broadcasting Acts in existence at the current time;
the Broadcasting Acts of 1990
It is important to be aware of what is contained within these
and below is a brief summary of what implementation of the Acts
has meant for the media industry.
The Broadcasting Act 1990
This broadcasting act has to some extent been superseded by the
White Paper on Communications, because anything taken
from that paper will be turned into a new Act of Parliament. However,
this Act began the first steps to deregulation in British Broadcasting
and reversed restrictions imposed on ownership of ITV franchises.
The main points of the 1990 Act were:
- This act required all ITV franchises to be put up for sale and
to be awarded partly on financial grounds.
- New ITV regional franchises mandated to give 25% of their production
to independent producers.
- ITV network centre established to commission programmes from
the franchise holders on to the national ITV network.
- Independent Television Commission set up to regulate all TV
services in the UK, with the exception of the BBC.
- For first time Channel4 to sell own advertising and ITV monopoly
on advertising sales was lost.
- Channel 5 was last conventional terrestrial TV channel to set
up in 1997 before digital explosion, to provide same strand of
programming at the same time every day, each week.
- TV licence is a tax on all owners of a TV set. Fee set by government
and to be renewed by an Act of Parliament.
- Corporation's right to be funded by licence fee renewed, but
- BBC set up internal market as Producer Choice, where producers
must also be managers and shop around for cheapest facilities
rather than accept those providing by corporation itself.
- Discusses different ways of paying for TV viewing as things
are changing, ie. pay per view and subscription.
- The establishment of the BCC and the BSC
- The Obscene Publications Act 1959 applied to broadcast
Criminal Justic and Public Order Act 1986 (racial
hatred) is modified to ensure it applies to programme services
and the Public Order (Northern Ireland) 1987
The Broadcasting Act 1996
This Act establishes regimes for the Introduction of digital terrestrial
broadcasting, and media ownership guidelines established in 1990.
The first two parts of this Act establish a regulatory framework
for broadcasting development; the first part is applicable to television
and the second to radio. The third part of the 1996 Act makes changes
to the 1990 Act.
Part four sets out a clause ensuring that the licence fee paying
public have the right to see certain `listed' sporting events at
no extra cost. This clause was added following an uproar following
BSkyB's strategy to buy Manchester United.
Part five sets out the merger of the Broadcasting Standards Council
and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission form the Broadcasting
Part six covers the transfer of property, rights and liabilities
relating to the BBC networks and states that the BBC has three main
- to produce codes of practice relating to standards and fairness
- consider and adjudicate on complaints
- monitor, research and report on standards and fairness in broadcasting
Part seven deals with copyright and related matters and part eight
lists miscellaneous provisions.