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casters could be guaranteed. It is contended that the nature of parliamentary debate would be radically changed by television; that Members would jockey for position in prime viewing time; that they would play to the gallery and adopt a more flamboyant style of debate. Parliament would become more of a theatre and less of a workshop as Members would be mainly concerned with making a good visual impression. Members might be encouraged to make interventions merely to "get on camera' or to spoil the effect of a good speech by an opponent. An increased tendency to deliver set speeches and employ headline-winning catchphrases would develop.
21. These anxieties seem to ignore the fact that a television audience is not concentrated in a public place. The medium is more likely to encourage rather than discourage the intimate informal style which is the essence of parliamentary debate. It is probable too that television would encourage higher rather than lower standards of behavior and debate since Members would wish to make a good impression on screen. A Member adopting exhibitionist or ungentlemanly tactics would soon fall into disfavour. The fact of being televised might discourage the raising of spurious points of order and privilege since these would frequently not be understood by the viewing public who would probably find them boring and futile.
22. Some of the arguments used against television are reminiscent of those employed two centuries ago when Members of the British House of Commons objected to the admission of the press to their debates. There is, therefore, good reason to believe that many of the fears expressed are exaggerated. Your Committee feels nevertheless that the importance of ensuring fair editing practices should not be underestimated.
23. The surest guarantee against bias in selection and editing would be to provide continuous live transmission, but this would presumably require a special channel. Furthermore, it is probably that there would not be widespread public interest in much of the proceedings of the House and the highlights of parliamentary business it broadcast live would not necessarily occur during prime viewing hours. While your Committee sees great value in the maintenance of a complete audio-visual record, the transmissions themselves would attract a greater viewing public if they were edited and broadcast by the broadcasting agencies during prime viewing hours.
24. The four major advantages of edited reports rather than continuous live transmissions have been summed up as follows:
(a) they would not require a special channel ;
(6) question time and important debates and speeches taking place during the day could be seen in the evening by a large audience;
(c) there would be no jockeying for position at peak viewing hours since an edited report could provide more even coverage;
(d) the tedium of debate could be eliminated and points of order and privilege could be edited out unless they were likely to attract public interest.
25. It would be essential in the view of your Committee that the House keep overall surveillance and control of the broadcasts in its own hands. However, whatever system of control were adopted, the House, if it accepted the principle of edited transmissions, would be obliged to place great reliance on the integrity and fair-mindedness of the broadcasters. Your Committee has every confidence that the broadcasters would discharge their responsibility with propriety and that the question of editing would prove to be much less of a problem then some critics anticipate.
THE BROADCASTING OF PARLIAMENT IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS 26. A symposium organized by the Interparliamentary Union in Geneva in December 1968 revealed that of 50 national Parliaments surveyed 29 transmit live or recorded broadcasts of actual debates by radio and 21 transmit such broadcasts by television. Complete coverage is however, rare. In the Commonwealth the broadcasting of Parliament by radio was pioneered in New Zealand where the proceedings of the House of Representatives have been broadcast by continuous live radio transmissions since 1936. Australia followed suit in 1946. The Parliaments of Austria, West Germany, Denmark and Norway appear to be in the vanguard among Western countries as far as television broadcasting is concerned.
27. In the United Kingdom the question has been under study for some years. On June 15, 1966, the House of Lords approved by a vote of 56 to 31 a resolution
1 See Wilson (Charles), Parliament, peoples and mass media, Cassell Ltd., 1970. p. 119.
calling for the televising of its proceedings on an experimental basis and in February, 1968, a closed circuit experiment took place. By curious contrast the House of Commons declined to tollow the example of the Lords, when on November 24, 1966, it rejected a proposal that its proceedings be televised for an experimental period by 131 votes to 130. Your Committee understands, however, that the matter is again under active study in the British Parliament.
28. Here in Canada the Legislature of Saskatchewan has been broadcasting certain of its proceedings by radio since 1964. The Nova Scotia House of Assembly instituted a three-week television experiment in March-April 1971. The Legislative Assembly of Alberta admitted the television cameras in 1972 for the first time. In 1970 the C.B.C. conducted an experiment in the Legislature of Manitoba during which the question period was covered. Elsewhere in Canada the televising of the opening ceremonies of the Legislature has taken place on various occasions, and some jurisdictions, notably Ontario and British Columbia, have permitted the broadcasting of the budget statement.
29. The following details of the broadcasting operation in certain jurisdictions may be of interest to the House. It should be noted that the only operations of which your Committee has had direct experience are those of the United Nations, United States Congress and, through Mr. Robert McCleave, the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. The information relating to other jurisdictions is drawn from studies and inquiries undertaken on the instructions of the Committee. It is noteworthy that, while television is widely regarded as a North American phenomenon, most of the Parliaments with practical experience of legislative broadcasting are to be found on the Continent of Europe. The United Nations
30. The United Nations, it can be said, grew up with television. When the United Nations Building in New York was being designed, television was in its infancy and architectural changes were made to permit the installation of special lighting and hidden camera positions in the General Assembly and in the Security Council. Broadcasting is a large operation at the United Nations, and it is now the policy to televise all open meetings. To do this, a table of priorities has been established for broadcasting by television, as follows: (a) the Security Council, (b) the General Assembly, and (c) the committees in order of their importance.
The United Nations broadcasting staff and the networks consult in advance to determine the order of priority of televising committees. The General Assembly, the Security Council and the senior committee rooms are equipped with lighting for colour television and storage space in the building has been converted into a control centre. There is also space for film editing and a film library. Floors are channelled to accommodate cables and outlets for the cables are installed in the committee rooms. There is also a closed-circuit system within the building so that the proceedings of meetings can be observed at several points.
31. A member of your Committee, Mr. Grant Deachman, who visited the United Nations headquarters with your Committee, prepared notes of the visit and he listed his impressions in part as follows:
At periods of highest public interest the UN boasts that its proceedings have been carried on the three US networks and radio as well as to 23 countries by satellite at a single time.
The relationship between the networks and the UN appears to be very good. The management of the UN TV facility is conscious to the need to provide interesting TV to the networks if it is to be accepted. At the same time they are equally aware of their duty to preserve the dignity and integrity of the institution in the eyes of the world. The maintaining of this balance is not an easy task and it is obvious that the senior staff members responsible for TV are not just technicians or broadcasters, but are able servants of the UN working in an area of great international sensitivity.
The UN at first invited the major networks to televise its proceedings. They soon found that the journalistic policies of the networks were not acceptable to delegates. For instance, if a delegate just arrived from a long overseas flight fell asleep on the floor of the Assembly during a debate which concerned his nation, the networks considered him fair game for their cameras. They would also give too much emphasis in the opinion of the UN, to gallery disturbances and sensational incidents. To preserve the dignity of the institution and to protect delegates from embarrassment, the UN took over the televising of meetings. It now operates the cameras in the General Assembly, the Security Council and the committees. It provides a live feed to subscribing networks while the Assembly and Council are in session as well as video tapes. The networks are supplied with booths which
oversee the General Assembly and which are used largely for televising interviews with delegates or for supplementing the UN feed. In addition the networks have the freedom of the building for corridor interviews.
The UN is very strict about the use of cameras on the floor of the Assembly. It is never permitted, even for the visits of impressive heads of state. However, cameras are allowed on the floor 20 minutes before the session is to commence, at which time they can pick up colourful impressions from the delegates as they enter to take their places. At the first stroke of the gavel the floor is cleared of journalists and cameramen. At the second stroke the meeting is called to order.
The operating of TV has strained the UN budget. To defray costs the UN charges the networks for some services. Each of the three major US networks pays a connecting charge of $800 a month for the UN feed. For video tapes they each pay a basic weekly charge of $1200 and a $600 surcharge for colour. They pay time-and-a-half on Sunday and after 7:00 o'clock.
The UN supplies radio live and recorded. Some radio stations carry the UN live all day. Recordings are exported to member countries around the world.
32. The United Nations broadcasting staff also prepares programs on requests for television and radio stations all over the world. Such work is undertaken because, apart from the real need for such a service, the United Nations feels it has an obligation to see that its proceedings are widely publicized. Such programs include special reports on the speeches and activities of particular state delegates for broadcasting over national networks. United States Congress
33. The proceedings of public meetings of United States Congressional committees can be broadcast by radio or television, and can be filmed or photographed; however, no cameras or any recording equipment are allowed in the United States Senate or House of Representatives except when they sit jointly on ceremonial occasions. Broadcasting of all Congressional committees takes place on a demand basis usually through a request to the Committee Chairman and the broadcasters must supply their own equipment and personnel. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 2 provides in Section 116 that when any hearing of a Senate committee is open to the public, that hearing may be broadcast under such rules as the committee may adopt. Thus, each Senate committee has the authority to lay down the rules by which it can be broadcast. In the House of Representatives, Rule XI is quite explicit that such coverage is a privilege and will only be permitted and allowed in accordance with the provisions and requirements of the rule. Rule XI lays down specific guidelines as to how personnel providing coverage by radio and television and by still photography shall conduct themselves. The number of cameras, the number of still photographers, and the lighting are also provided for and where necessary it requires broadcasters to form a pool operation.
34. While in Washington, your Committee was able to attend a sitting of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee at which the Secretary of State, Mr. Rogers, was a witness. We could not help noting that the large number of television cameramen, radio broadcasters, news reporters and still photographers was very distracting and that it required a large amount of concentration by the members of the Committee in order to follow the proceedings. New Zealand
35. The General Assembly of New Zealand was the first Parliament in the Commonwealth to broadcast its proceedings. Sound broadcasting of the proceedings of the House of Representatives was commenced on March 24, 1936. The proceedings of the Upper Chamber, the Legislative Council, were never broadcast, and since this Chamber was abolished in 1950 this aspect of the matter is of no concern to a consideration of the current situation.
36. The decision to broadcast the proceedings of the House of Representatives was a purely administrative one. It was not taken by the House itself but by the Cabinet of the day, and arose from an election promise which had been made during an election campaign of the previous year. Giving evidence before a British Select Committee on June 17, 1965, the Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives said: “It was done as an executive act rather than a parliamentary act and I would have some difficulty in finding any specific authority for it." 3
U.S.A. Public Law 91-510, 1970. 3 First report from the Select Committee on Broadcasting, etc., of Proceedings in the House of Commons, HC 146, 8 August, 1966 Minutes of Evidence.
37. From 1936 to 1961 the ultimate control of parliamentary broadcasting was in the hands of the Prime Minister and in the early years, when the broadcasts were limited to selected debates, it was he who determined the time at which broadcasting should take place. It was not long, however, before the continuous broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings was instituted and in 1962 the Broadcasting Corporation was established to take over and operate the service. Ministers no longer have any responsibility for matters of day to day administration, but the Corporation is required to comply with the general policy of the Government with respect to broadcasting and with any general or special direction given in writing by the Minister pursuant to the policy of the Government.
38. It was also in 1962 that the broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings was first regulated by Standing Order 46 in the following terms:
Proceedings of Parliament shall be broadcast during all hours of sitting prescribed by the Standing Orders and during such other periods as may be determined by the Leader of the House.
The Prime Minister as Leader of the House still has it in his power to extend the broadcasting facilities when the House sits beyond the hour of 10:30 p.m. but as a matter of courtesy he normally consults the Leader of the Opposition.
39. Legislation to regulate the broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings has never been introduced in New Zealand. Australia
40. In contrast with the experience in New Zealand, the introduction of parliamentary broadcasting by radio was carefully planned in Australia. As a first step the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Broadcasting was requested by the Postmaster General to consider whether the broadcasting of parliamentary debates was desirable and if so to what extent and in what manner such broadcasts should be undertaken. The resultant report presented to Parliament on September 26, 1945, which was described as "a complete statement of the problems involved in such a venture", recommended "that the innovation should be introduced in this country as soon as circumstances permit." 5
41. Parliamentary broadcasting is governed by the Parliamentary Proceedings Broadcasting Act of 1946. It provides for a Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings consisting of three Senators including the President of the Senate and six Members of the House of "epresentatives including the Speaker. This Committee exercises control over the broadcasts in accordance with certain principles agreed to by Parliament. These principles deal with the daily period during which the proceedings should be broadcast, the allocation of broadcasting time between the two Houses, the rebroadcasting of proceedings, and the extent to which comments from the control booth are allowed. The Joint Committee exercises extensive powers within the framework of these principles and one of its duties is to ensure equal coverage for Government and Opposition Parties.
42. The Australian Senate, by resolution in 1971, approved in principle the televising of the proceedings of its standing and select committees at the discretion of the committees themselves but subject to such rules as the Senate would adopt as guidelines for such coverage. According to the best information available to your Committee, no rules or guidelines have as yet been adopted. However, it is our understanding that this matter is before the Senate's Committee on Privileges and has been in committee for some time. Austria
43. Parliamentary proceedings are regularly broadcast by television and radio from the floor of the Chamber. Committee deliberations are always closed to the public and taping for radio is never allowed. Occasionally, when special permission is granted by the President of Parliament, Committee proceedings may be filmed without sound to serve as a background for the television commentators. For the past four years two cameras have continuously recorded all the proceedings in the Chamber and the official broadcasting agency has sole authority to select excerpts for television and radio news broadcasts. All films are retained in archives for the exclusive use of the television broadcasting corporation. When Parliament is in session selections are regularly broadcast in the evening news by both television and radio.
* New Zealand, Standing Orders of the House of Representatives relating to public business, reprinted and renumbered June 1963.
5 Eighth Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Broadcasting. Parliamentary Paper No. 31 of 1945-46.
44. In 1966 the Bundestag entered into an agreement with West Germany's two television networks whereby certain debates are televised at the request of the media. A procedure has been established whereby the television station puts in a request to the Press Department of the Bundestag, which is under the jurisdiction of the President of the Bundestag, to be allowed to televise certain proceedings. Permission is granted by the Press Department following consultation with party representatives. Once permission has been granted, and it normally is granted, the actual televising and editing becomes the responsibility of the television station which has to conform to certain conditions with regard to the placing of cameras.
45. Television has so far been restricted to plenary sessions of the Bundestag and committee proceedings have not as yet been televised. Permission to televise is only sought when it is anticipated that the debate will arouse great public interest. Requests are made at fairly short notice, normally by telephone, but a certain amount of advance notice is necessary to provide time for consultation with party representatives.
46. In 1970 the proceedings of the Bundestag were televised on 26 days amounting to 126 hours all told divided between the two television stations. According to the information obtained by your Committee the broadcasts attracted a viewing public of some 75 per cent of the viewing population, an unusually high proportion which is in marked contrast with the experience in other jurisdictions. The explanation probably lies in the skillful judgment exercised by the news media in selecting those parliamentary events which promise to attract a high measure public interest. Denmark
47. Continuous coverage of parliamentary proceedings is available in Denmark by radio and television but the use which is made of the material is selective and based upon estimated public interest. Special events are sometimes broadcast live from the Chamber, but most broadcasts are re-transmitted and include the weekly question period and the important parts of major debates. Except for special events which are broadcast live the material is usually shortened for use in evening news programs. Committee proceedings are always held in camera and are never broadcast.
48. It seems that the broadcasting methods used call for no special technical arrangements and foreign as well as domestic broadcasters are free to apply for permission to broadcast. Permission is normally granted on the understanding that it will be purely a recording operation entailing no added lights or noise. The broadcasts do not appear to attract an unusual degree of public interest unless & debate is of exceptional importance. Norway
49. Parliamentary debates are broadcast by both television and radio in the Chamber but not in Committees. Broadcasts are selective and fairly frequent and are sometimes relayed to the public in the form of extracts. The King's speech from the Throne at the opening of a session and his dissolution speech are always broadcast live, and among the debates which are regularly broadcast, either live or in the form of extracts, are those on the Speech from the Throne, on the budget and on foreign affairs. Sweden
50. Parliamentary proceedings are broadcast by both television and radio from the Chamber only. They are selective and variable, and the choice of material rests with the Swedish Broadcasting authorities on the basis of a formula designed to present an objective balance of views. Committee meetings are held in camera and are therefore not broadcast. Finland
51. Parliamentary proceedings are broadcast by both television and radio from the Chamber and the broadcasts are sometimes live. Committee proceedings are not broadcast. Broadcasting is both selective and infrequent, and the choice as to what will be broadcast is made after a session begins, the concentration being at the beginning and the end of the session. Broadcasting policy is governed by regulations to ensure a proper political balance and the editor in charge of the broadcasts is responsible for adherence to these regulations.