Government 'has power to ban porn TV channel'

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The Independent Online
THE BRITISH government has the power to ban the pornographic satellite television channel Red Hot Dutch without consultation, according to a European Commission official.

The Broadcasting Standards Council and the Independent Television Commission have complained about the explicit pornographic film station, which broadcasts from Denmark to 25,000 British homes.

But the Department of National Heritage appears confused about its legal rights to stop Red Hot Dutch and is seeking EC permission to suspend it, delegates at London's Financial Times Cable and Satellite Broadcasting conference were told.

Colette Flesch, director of the EC's audio visual, information, communication and culture group, said: 'UK authorities have the means to stop such a broadcast, they can take whatever measures they deem necessary. The commission's view is that it is up to the member states to suspend.'

The Government is still considering what to do. The most obvious option is for it to make the selling and marketing of decoding equipment illegal.

Afterwards Jon Davey, the ITC's director of cable and satellite, said the ball was now firmly in the Government's court.

Martin Bell, the BBC's foreign correspondent, was named Television Journalist of the Year last night by the Royal Television Society, for his extensive reporting from the former Yugoslavia.

Mr Bell was injured by shrapnel while reporting on shelling in Sarajevo. After treatment in London, he returned to his post.

The annual RTS awards ceremony, which represents the British broadcasting establishment, also gave Sky News a special judges' award, for its 'increasing significance'.

David Hatch, special adviser to John Birt, Director-General of the BBC, said the future of Radio 4 was 'immensely secure' but that many individuals and organisations had written in, worried that the service could be affected by a 24-hour rolling news service.

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