Our response to the Government’s Online Harms consultation

The Press Recognition Panel (PRP) has submitted a response to the Government’s consultation on its Online Harms White Paper, which is partly concerned with news, “fake news” and disinformation.

The PRP was established by a Royal Charter in 2014 as part of a new system of regulatory oversight to ensure freedom of speech for the press and other news publishers whilst also protecting the interests of the public. This followed the Leveson Inquiry (2011-2012) into the culture, practices and ethics of the press.

In our consultation response, we explain that social media platforms perform as news publishers when they produce, edit and distribute news. For these platforms, a regulatory framework already exists in the form of the recognition system of which the Royal Charter and the PRP are part.

The Government should not overburden news publishers and social media platforms by creating a new regulatory system, since a system already exists. Nor should they operate within a system different to that which applies to other news publishers (including the traditional ‘press’).

Anyone who would like to discuss our consultation response, or any aspect of our work, should not hesitate to get in touch.