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1990 Broadcasting Act

Controversial legislation that redrew the broadcasting landscape

Main image of 1990 Broadcasting Act

The Broadcasting Act 1990 established a new framework for the regulation of independent television and radio services, and the satellite and cable television under the act, the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and the Cable Authority were dissolved and replaced by the Independent Television Commission. The Radio Authority was established in respect of independent radio services. The Broadcasting Standards Council was made a statutory body and the Act also contains provisions relating to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission. Besides reorganising Independent broadcasting, the Act provided for the formation of a separate company with responsibility for affecting the technical arrangements relating to independent television broadcasting - National Transcommunications Ltd - as a first step towards the privatisation of the former IBA's transmission functions.

The Act repealed the Broadcasting Act 1981 and the Cable and Broadcasting Act 1984, amended the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949, the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1967, the Marine [&c] Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967, and the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and also implements legislative provisions required pursuant to Directive 89/552.

The Broadcasting Act 1990 required the British Broadcasting Corporation, all Channel 3 Licensees, the Channel 4 Television Corporation, S4C (the Welsh Fourth Channel Authority) and the future Channel 5 Licensee to procure but not less than 25% of total amount of time allocated by those services to broadcasting "qualifying programming" is allocated to the broadcasting of arrangement adversity of "independent productions". The expressions "qualifying programming" and "independent productions" defined in the Broadcasting (Independent Productions) Order 1991.

The full text is available on the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) website.

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