This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on broadcasting. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

07.04.2014TV licence fee non-payment: decriminalising the offence
It is against the law to watch or record TV programmes as they are being shown on TV without a valid licence. At present, using a television receiver without a valid licence is a criminal offence. This can lead to prosecution, a court appearance and a fine of up to 1,000 (not including legal costs).
24.02.2014Local television
The UK's first local TV channel began broadcasting in November 2013, with others scheduled to launch in 2014. This note describes the background to the policy, how the channels are funded and the licence conditions imposed on them.
23.12.2013Digital radio switchover
The Government has published an Action Plan setting out its intention to see radio broadcasting switch from analogue to digital audio broadcasting ('DAB'). The target date, which the industry considers is achievable and the Government says it would support, is 2015.
08.07.2013BBC Governance and Financial Accountability
This note provides background to the present governance arrangements of the BBC, in particular the roles of the BBC Trust and Executive Board. It outlines both the previous and present arrangements and the debates and processes involved in the transformation. The note also examines the regulatory interplay between the BBC Trust and Ofcom. Finally it looks at the arrangements for the BBC's financial accountability to Parliament, and outlines the changes in auditing procedure that have occurred since the last Royal Charter settlement.
26.02.20134G spectrum
Ofcom is proceeding with plans to auction radio spectrum needed for 4G mobile devices. One related issue is the potential for interference with TV reception.

Research Papers

29.03.2010Digital Economy Bill [HL]
The Bill implements aspects of Government policy on digital media set out in the 'Digital Britain' White Paper published in June 2009. It requires Ofcom to report on communications infrastructure and media content and gives it additional powers in relation to electromagnetic spectrum access. It imposes obligations on internet service providers to reduce online copyright infringement and allows the Secretary of State to intervene in internet domain name registration. The Bill requires Channel Four to provide public service content on a range of media and allows variation of the public service provision in Channel 3 and 5 licences. It also modifies the licensing regime to facilitate switchover to digital radio, extends the range of video games that are subject to age-related classification and includes non-print formats in the public lending right payment scheme.
16.04.2008Food Products (Marketing to Children) Bill
Food Products (Marketing to Children) Bill. (Bill 19 of 2007-08). House of Commons Library Research Paper 08/35.
13.12.2006Digital Switchover (Disclosure of Information) Bill (Bill 3 of 2006-07)
The Digital Switchover (Disclosure of Information) Bill (Bill 3 of 2006-07). House of Commons Library Research Paper 06/64
29.11.2002Broadcasting and the Communications Bill (Bill 6 2002/03)
Broadcasting and The Communications Bill (Bill 6 of 2002/03). House of Commons Library Research Paper 02/69.
26.10.2000Concessionary television licences
Concessionary television licences. House of Commons Library Research Paper 00/82.

Select Committee Reports

19.07.2011BBC licence fee settlement and annual report.
Government response. Culture Media and Sport Select Committee; Department for Culture, Media and Sport report [Commons]
Government response. Department for Culture, Media and Sport report [Commons]
21.06.2011The governance and regulation of the BBC.
Communications Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
24.05.2011Pre-appointment hearing with the government's preferred candidate for the Chairman of the S4C Authority...
Culture Media and Sport Select Committee; Welsh Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
17.05.2011Implications of cuts to the BBC World Service.
Government response. Foreign Affairs Select Committee; BBC; Foreign and Commonwealth Office report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House believes that television credits displayed at the end of programmes are crucial; further believes that they help the skilled workforce to advertise their skills to prospective ...
That this House condemns the disgraceful and disgusting remarks made by Jeremy Clarkson on the BBC; notes that his comments have been criticised by thousands of licence payers, hon. ...
That this House is concerned that TV Licensing is both intimidating and misleading in its correspondence with households which do not have atelevision licence; is further concerned ...
That this House notes that Rhythmix is the name of a small Brighton-based charity providing music-making opportunities to vulnerable youngsters; welcomes the decision by the entertainment ...
That this House is concerned at the decision by Trinity Mirror North West to close its Westminster operation and the impact this will have on daily coverage of Parliamentary and constituency ...

Lords Library Notes

22.11.2013Debate on 28 November: Broadcast Media
This Library Note provides background reading for the debate on the contribution of broadcast media to the UK economy.

POST Papers

01.12.2007Next generation telecoms networks, December 2007
Next generation telecoms networks, December 2007. POSTnote 07/296.
01.07.2007Radio spectrum management, July 2007
Radio spectrum management, July 2007. POSTnote 07/292.
01.06.2006Analogue to digital TV switchover, June 2006
Analogue to digital TV switchover, June 2006. POSTnote 06/264.


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses