Several British - based satellite television channels have been set up supply programmes to cable operators on Britain and, in many cases, throughout Europe.
British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) carries channels devoted to light entertainment, news, feature films and sport, transmitted from the Astra and Marcopolo satellites. Each Astra satellite can transmit 16 channels, simultaneously. Two satellites are operational so far, with more planned, and provide about 18 channels in England. Other channels broadcast sport, general entertainment for women, and a service for children. MTV is a pop video channel. The Marcopolo satellite carries BskyB broadcasts made under contract to the ITC in the five DBS channels allocated to Britain under international agreement.
Both the BBC and independent television broadcast educational programmes for schools and continuing education programmes for adults. Broadcasts to schools deal with most subjects of the National Curriculum, while education programmes for adults cover many fields of learning and vocational training. Supporting material, in the form of books, pamphlets, filmstrips, computer software, and audio and video cassettes, is available to supplement the programmes.
Each year the BBC Open University Production Centre produces around 350 radio and audio programmes and 200 television and video programmes made specially for students of the Open University. The Centre also produces educational and training video materials in collaboration with external agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department for Education.
The ITC has a duty to ensure that schools programmes are presented on independent television.
Advertisements are broadcast on independent television and radio between programmes as well as in breaks during programmes. Advertisers are not allowed directly to influence programme content or editorial control. In television, food manufacturers and retailers are the largest category of advertisers.
Advertisements must be clearly distinguishable and separate from programmes. The time given to them must not be so great as to detract from the value of the programmes as a medium of information, education or entertainment. Television advertising is limited to an average of seven minutes an hour throughout the day and seven a half minutes in the peak evening viewing period. Advertising is prohibited in religious services and in broadcasts to schools. Independent television's teletext service carries paginated advertisements.
Parliamentary and Political Broadcasting
The proceeding of both Houses of Parliament may be broadcasted on television and radio, either live, or more usually in recorded and edited form on news and current affairs programmes.
The proceedings of the House of Commons have been televised since 1989.They are produced by an independent company appointed by the House of Commons, which makes television pictures available to the BBC, ITN and other approved broadcasters for use in news and current affairs programmes. House of Lords proceedings have been televised since 1985.
The BBC and the commercial services provide time on radio and television for an annual series of party political broadcasts. Party election broadcasts are arranged following the announcement of general election. In addition, the Government may make ministerial broadcasts on radio and television, with opposition parties also being allotted broadcast time.
COI Overseas Radio and Television Services
The Central Office and Information (COI), which provides publicity material and other information services on behalf of government departments and other public agencies, produces radio programmes for overseas. A wide range of recorded material is sent to radio stations all over the world. COI television services make available material such as documentary and magazine programmes for distribution to overseas stations.
TV and Radio
Television viewing is Britain's most popular leisure pastime: 95 per cent of households have a colour television set and 68 per cent have a video recorder.
There are four television channels, and five national and over 100 local radio stations. News laws will allow another national television channel and as many as three national commercial radio stations. Subscribers to a privately owned satellite service can receive five more television channels.
A lot of air time is devoted to political, social and economic affairs. Although politicians often face tough questioning, particularly during election campaigns, broadcasters are expected to be impartial in their treatment of political controversies. Some programmes especially radio, allow members of the public to challenge politicians and other public figures on major issues.
The Government is not responsible for programming content or the day-to-day conduct of the business of broadcasting. Broadcasters are free to air programs with the only limitation on their independence being the requirement that they not offend good taste.
The British are one of the biggest newspaper-reading nations in the world.
There are about 130 daily and Sunday newspapers, over 2,000 weekly newspapers and some 7,000 periodical publications in Britain. That's more national and regional daily newspapers for every person in Britain than in most other developed countries. The major papers, twelve national morning daily newspapers (5 qualities and 7 populars) and nine Sunday papers (4 qualities and 5 populars) are available in most parts of Britain. All the national newspapers use computer technology, and its use in the provincial press, which has generally led the way in adopting new techniques, is widespread.
The press in Britain is free to comment on the matters of public interest, subject to law (including that of libel). By the open discussions of all types of goings on, it is obvious that there is no state control or censorship of the press, which caters to a variety of political views, interests and levels of education. Newspapers are almost always financially independent of any political party, but their political leanings are easily discerned.
Mass Media in Great Britain:
LIST OF BOOKS:
1. "Britain 1993", an official handbook.
2."How Do You Do, Britain?" L.S.Baranovsky, D.D. Kozikis, Minsk, SADI Agency 1997
3."British Studies" M. Pavlotsky St.-Petersburg, 1998
4."This is Great Britain" L. Kolodyazhnaya IRIS PRESS, Moscow, 1999
5."British Democracy in Action" Published by the Foreign And Commonwealth Office