Lords to hear from U.S. Presidential debates commission

20 February 2014


On Tuesday 25 February, the House of Lords Communications Committee will take evidence from the U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates and experts on leaders' debates around the world, in the second evidence session of its inquiry into broadcast General Election debates

The UK held its first broadcast leaders' debates in 2010 and the Lords Communications Committee is looking into different models for how they might be operated and run in the future.

The idea has been floated by some that the debates should be overseen by a third party, as is the case in the United States, where a Commission sponsors and produces the Presidential Debates. The U.S. political and broadcast regulatory context is, however, very different to that in the U.K., and so the Committee will explore what lessons, if any, can be learnt for the U.K. from the U.S. experience of broadcasting debates since 1960.

At 3.30 pm the Committee will question, Janet Brown, Executive Director for the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Following on, at 4.15 pm, it will explore the view of the broadcaster with Professor William Wheatley, Jr., Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, and former Executive Vice President of NBC News.

Finally, at 5.00 pm, the Committee will put questions to Professor Alan Schroeder, School of Journalism, Northeastern University, who is an expert in televised leaders debates around the world.

All three witnesses will give evidence via video-link.

The evidence sessions will take place on Tuesday 25 February at 3.30 pm in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords.

The session will be webcast at www.parliamentlive.tv and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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