Writing in The Times, Jeremy Darroch, CEO of Sky, has renewed his call (first made in the same paper in July 2018) for the UK government to act to curb the “flow of hate, abuse and offensive, illegitimate and even dangerous content online”.
Darroch wrote: “This week Lord McNally presented his own bill in the House of Lords to address the issue. His idea is simple: kick-off the long overdue process by empowering Ofcom to prepare a duty-of-care obligation for online platforms, overseen by an independent and evidenced-based regulator.
He is right to inject some urgency. A lot of the thinking has been done by the government and there has been some excellent work by the Carnegie Trust, supported by organisations such as the NSPCC. This is not a kneejerk reaction to a few headlines and it’s not a path that will lead to the unintended consequences of censorship, curtailing innovation or positioning the UK as an enemy of tech investment.
If managed correctly, this is a real opportunity for an emboldened, outward-looking global Britain to show the world what good regulation and management of public policy issues can look like.
I would like to see the government follow Lord McNally in introducing its own bill as a matter of urgency. That’s why, today, we have written to MPs across the country to ask them for their support in establishing an independent regulator that will finally tackle online harms.
Politicians need to set the strategic direction while leaving the oversight of online platforms to an independent, trusted and evidence-based body. That way, we will learn the lesson of Prohibition, with a targeted and proportionate response to today’s pressing social issues before it is too late.”