Government’s broadcasting reforms “a retrograde step in the direction of censorship”, warns IEA expert

Commenting on the Government’s broadcasting reforms that will require viewers be protected from ‘offensive’ and ‘harmful’ content on streaming services, Matthew Lesh, Head of Public Policy at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“This would be a retrograde step in the direction of censorship. Streaming services may respond to these new rules by reducing their offering to British users — anything that could risk being perceived as harmful or offensive.

“It’s unclear what problem these reforms are trying to solve. Streaming services are providing an immensely valuable service to millions of British consumers. It’s already possible to decide what you would like to watch, with warnings and ratings provided about the type of content, as well as separate children’s services.

“The best way to achieve a ‘level playing field’ between broadcast and streaming would be to get rid of antiquated rules that give Ofcom discretionary power to decide what we are allowed to view.”


Notes to editors

Contact: Emily Carver, Head of Media, 07715 942 731

IEA spokespeople are available for interview and further comment.

Further IEA reading:

In harm’s way: Why online safety regulation needs an Independent Reviewer, by Matthew Lesh and Mikolaj Barczentewicz

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