In the midst of troubled times and the tragic events around Parliament last week there have been some significant developments of note.
Digital Economy Bill
The Bill is reaching its final stages and various amendments are being tabled in the House of Lords. Pressure from Baroness Benjamin (amongst others) has caused the government to take up an amendment focused on giving Ofcom more powers to regulate for children's content on the Commercial Public Service Broadcasters. The devil will be in the detail. But along with our partners in the Save Kids Content Campaign, we'll be keeping a close eye on how that plays out in the final stages of the Bill becoming law.
Another amendment to the Bill calls for greater prominence for the BBC and other public service channels' content on video-on-demand menu pages - in the same way they had prominence on Electronic Programme Guides. As we go to press this has yet to be voted on, but CMF believes this to be a reasonable demand. Public money supports the BBC. Its content, along with that of the commercial PSBs, underpins the entire UK viewing environment. The least VoD platforms can do to help keep the UK's unique mixed system afloat is give prominence to the public service content.
Growing up with the Internet
The House of Lords Communications Committee has been investigating various aspects of internet security for children and young people for several months. CMF contributed to their consultation in August 2016 and followed up with more evidence in December. The resultant report is timely (so many of the topics it covers are in the news), comprehensive (it examines all the various strands of problems that young people face online) it comes up with some practical solutions, and we're pleased to say it mirrors many of our observations and recommendations. The report now needs to be taken forward into legislation. CMF will partner with the various bodies working to improve children's digital lives to be proactive in Parliament and with ministers as they take these recommendations on.