The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

All Party Group for Children’s Media and The Arts, Inaugural Meeting

All Party Group for Children's Media and the Arts
Inaugural Meeting
Wednesday 22nd January
Palace of Westminster

Report

After the enforced hiatus of summer recess, conference season and a December General Election, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children’s Media and the Arts is back on track.  All groups have to re-register after a General Election by holding an inaugural meeting and electing its officers.

In accordance with the rules, MPs and Peers duly elected Baroness Benjamin and Julie Elliott MP as co-chairs, with Andrew Rosindell MP and Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall as Officers

The co-chairs reported that, despite the stop-start nature of politics in recent months, 2019 saw two of the group’s main areas of interest bearing some fruit after years of campaigning.

Notably the Young Audience Content Fund: In March the APPG hosted the first opportunity for interested parties to question Head of Fund, Jackie Edwards ahead of the fund going live in April.

Then in July the APPG invited Action For Children’s Arts to present their Arts Backpack – a scheme, first mooted at the APPG’s AGM in 2014, to give every primary school child five quality arts experiences.  There was some interrogation of the research and ACA will be piloting their idea in 2020.

However, a previous success has led to great disappointment – Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017, which required online pornography sites to ensure age verification (something hard won by the APPG’s members) has been delayed and finally shelved by the government.  Their argument is that it will be superseded by the future Online Harms Bill, with a proposed ‘age appropriate code’.  But will that be sufficient and what happens in the meantime?  Child safety is of the utmost importance to this APPG and ensuring this will be a priority in the days to come, with a meeting with stakeholders to be held as soon as possible.

With the news that director of BBC Children’s, Alice Webb is leaving in April and that Baron Hall of Birkenhead is standing down as BBC’s Director General, the APPG will be watching what happens at the BBC.  The recent Lords Communications Committee report on Public Service Broadcasting warns that, in the new broadcast landscape, public service broadcasting is as vital as ever, especially for children and young people.  The APPG agrees and will do all that it can to promote and encourage the best media and provision for our all of our children.

Jayne Kirkham
Clerk to APPG Children’s Media and the Arts
Board member and political liaison for Children’s Media Foundation

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