Online Harms - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:55 pm on 8th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport 5:55 pm, 8th April 2019

The right reverend Prelate is right that holding international companies to account is absolutely crucial, as I think I said before. There are limits to that, obviously, but some of the methods that we are consulting on—ultimately leading to closing the website down completely—are pretty serious, particularly for the large companies. We absolutely understand that. In addition, we want to continue to work with our international partners, such as the G7, the G20, and those countries that share our views on freedom of speech and on balancing that with controlling and dealing with the worst harms. We want a free and vibrant internet but we do not want the harms that go with it. I absolutely take his point, and we will listen to what people have to say about the correct means of holding international companies to account, but it is crucial that we are able to do that. I can tell noble Lords that we have now had 50 responses to the consultation.