On Thursday 18 July 2019, Jeremy Wright MP, the then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, announced to the House that he was consulting with Channel 4, the BBC, S4C, Ofcom and the International Paralympic Committee on the addition of the Paralympic Games to the listed events regime. The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Morgan) and I have carefully considered the consultation responses and have decided to add the Paralympic Games to Category A of the list of sporting and other events of national interest maintained under section 97(1) of the Broadcasting Act 1996.
The Secretary of State and I are satisfied that the Paralympic Games meets the criteria for listing as it is an event of ‘special national significance’ and provides a ‘shared moment on the national calendar’ that serves to unite the whole of the United Kingdom. Having started in Stoke Mandeville in the 1940s, the event has a unique relationship with the UK. The increasing audience figures also demonstrate its clear importance to the UK. It is the pre-eminent international event in disability sport, involves the national team, commands a large television audience and has a history of broadcast on free-to-air channels.
The Secretary of State has also written to the European Commission to notify them of the change to the list as she is required to do under Audiovisual Media Services Directive.
The Secretary of State and I also consulted on the addition of the women’s equivalents of men’s events already on the list. The consultation closed on 11 December 2019, and the responses are being analysed. The government will respond in due course.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords