IMPRESS welcomes the Government’s first response to the Online Harms consultation that suggests it is minded to give Ofcom new powers to regulate user generated content on the internet. This is a unique opportunity to comprehensively update media regulation in the UK and to ensure the public is protected from online harms. IMPRESS looks forward to hearing more detailed announcements in due course.
Regarding today’s response, IMPRESS urged the government to take the necessary steps to avoid creating an uneven regulatory framework where some operators get to shirk their responsibilities in a way that makes it more difficult for members of the public to get harmful content removed and put a stop to online abuse.
IMPRESS welcomes further constructive engagement with Ofcom, to ensure that statutory online harms regulation provides a coherent and easy to navigate system for the public that works alongside IMPRESS’s approved scheme of regulation for news websites.
Ed Procter, Chief Operating Officer of IMPRESS, said: ‘We believe it is crucial that the government and Ofcom continue to work closely with regulators like IMPRESS to avoid duplication and gaps in the regulation of an increasingly converged media. We support the proposal for editorial content to fall outside the scope of the new regulations but believe further clarity is required when it comes to user-generated content on news websites such as comment sections.’
In anticipation of this, IMPRESS has been engaging with regulated publishers on the issue of user-generated content and will continue our work to bring websites within the officially approved scheme of self-regulation, which is recognised by the Press Recognition Panel for its effectiveness in protecting the public.
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