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Reference > Media law & regulation > UK media laws > Broadcasting > Television Act 1964

UK media laws: Broadcasting


1964 c.21
An Act to consolidate the Television Acts 1954 and 1963

5. The Independent Television Authority.

1. Constitution and functions of Authority
        (1) Chairman, deputy chairman and not less than five members—fixed at eight initially but giving the Postmaster General [later the Home Secretary] the power to amend the number by Standing Order. It has never been changed. (3) to provide television broadcast services 'additional to those of the British Broadcasting Corporation and of high quality, both as to the transmission and as to the matter transmitted, for so much of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands as may from time to time be reasonably practicable'.
        (4) it shall act (a) 'as a public service for disseminating information, education and entertainment'... and (c) 'to secure a wide showing for programmes of merit'.
        (5) programmes shall be 'provided not by the Authority but by persons (hereafter in this Act referred to as "programme contractors") who, under contracts with the Authority, have, in consideration of payments to the Authority and subject to the provisions of this Act, the right and duty to provide programmes or parts of pro­grammes to be broadcast by the Authority, which may include advertisements'.
        (6) The Authority 'is not exercising functions on behalf of the Crown'.

2 Powers of Authority.
   (1) ITA may set up transmitters and relay stations, studios, etc, and equip them.
   (2) (a)...'arrange for the provision of parts of programmes otherwise than by programme contractors for the purpose of securing the inclusion in the programmes broadcast by the Authority of items of particular classes which in their opinion are necessary for securing a proper balance in the subject-matter of the programmes and cannot, or cannot as suitably, be provided by programme contractors; (b) reason of any temporary lack of suitable persons able and willing to become or continue as programme contractors on suitable terms...; (c) with the consent of the Postmaster General [now Home Secretary] 'of educational broadcasting services of an experimental nature...
   (4) ITA 'shall not carry on business as sellers of, or, except with the approval of the Postmaster General [Home Secretary], themselves engage in the manufacture or sale of, apparatus for wireless telegraphy or any other telegraphic equipment'.
   (5) Service shall be television only, except for relaying BBC sound-only party political broadcasts, or news items, announcements, etc, incidental to the television service

3 General provisions with respect to content of programmes.
    (1) (a) nothing which 'offends against good taste or decency or is likely to encourage or incite to crime or to lead to disorder or to be offensive to public feelings'; (b) adequate news 'with due accuracy and impartiality'; (c) proper proportions of British programmes; (e) impartiality in political or industrial controversy or relating to current public policy.
   (2) prohibits broadcasting of opinions of the ITA, its staff, programme contractors or their directors.
    (3) prohibits use of subliminal techniques.
    (4) no large prizes shall be offered, even in advertisements, which are available only to viewers of that programme.
    (5) there shall be (a) no religious broadcasts without ITA approval and (b) no charitable appeals.
    (6) ITA may make recordings of all transmitted material without infringing copyright or provisions of the Performers Protection Acts 1958 and 1963.

Provisions applying to programmes other than advertisements.

4. Code for programmes other than advertisements.
   (1) ITA shall draw up a code concerning such matters as children's programmes, family viewing periods, etc.
   (2) ITA may impose controls on programme contractors in general or in particular.

5. Submission of programme schedules for Authority's approval.

7. Advertisements.
    The following are not considered to be advertisements: charitable appeals, literary or artistic reviews, reporting of events, announcements of programme contents, location, etc, statements made at the request or under the authority of a Minister of the Crown.

8. Code for advertisements. As for programmes (see §4 above)

9. Advisory committees shall be set up for religion, consumer affairs, education, etc.

10. Duties of Authority in relation to contracts for programmes.
   Programme contracts shall be for not more than six years; contractors must be of UK, Manx or Channel Island registration; advertising agencies and cross-ownership are excluded.

11. Provisions to be included in contracts for programmes.

12. Newspaper shareholdings in programme contractors may be limited by the ITA.

13. Rental payments by programme contractors.

15. Buying and selling of programmes by programme contractors.
   (1) ITA may require one contractor to buy the programmes of another.
   (2) provisions are made for inter-company payments.

16. Wages and conditions of employment of persons employed by programme contractors.

17. Government control over Authority as to hours of broadcasting.

18. Government control over Authority as to certain other matters.
   (1) Minister of the Crown or Postmaster-General may require announcements to be broadcast but
   (2) ITA may choose to announce that they are doing so.
   (3) Postmaster General may ban certain types of material but
   (4) ITA may announce the fact.
   (5) Postmaster General may require the ITA to provide, adopt or use (or refrain from same) technical measures, stations, test or experimental transmissions.

19. Prevention of exclusive arrangements for televising events of national interest in the case of 'sporting or other events of national interest', but this provision shall only apply if events are transmitted within seven days of their taking place.

20. Co-operation of Authority with British Broadcasting Corporation in use of broadcasting installations.

24. Audience research.
   ITA shall make arrangements for review.

25. Second television service provided by Authority.
   'If at any time the Authority are broadcasting more than one programme for reception in any one area, the Authority shall in carrying out their duties under this Act ensure that, so far as possible, the same kind of subject-matter is not broadcast at the same time in the different programmes.

Sch.1 Provisions as to the Independent Television Authority
Sch.2 Rules as to Advertisements.

1964/1202 Television Act 1964 (Channel Islands) 0.
1965/601    Television Act 1964 (Isle of Man) 0.
1969/1370 Television Act 1964 (Channel Islands) 0.
1969/1372 Television Act 1964 (Isle of Man) 0.
1971/309    Television Act 1964 (Additional Payments) Order [revoked by Independent Broadcasting Authority Act 1973, Sch.3]

 Broadcasting laws.
 Alphabetical list of statutes.


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© David Fisher