Mass Media: Antisemitism

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 12th February 2021.

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Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking with (a) the press and (b) media industries to tackle discriminatory speech towards the Haredi Jewish Community.

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State

The government is committed to a free and independent press, and does not intervene in what the press can and cannot publish. We are clear, however, that with this freedom, comes responsibility, which media organisations must take seriously. It is important that there exists an independent self regulatory regime to ensure that the press adheres to a wide set of clear and appropriate standards, and to offer individuals a means of redress where these are not met.

The majority of traditional publishers—including 95% of national newspapers by circulation—are members of The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). A small number of publishers have joined The Independent Monitor for the Press (IMPRESS). These regulators issue codes of conduct which provide guidelines on a range of areas including discrimination, and set out the rules that members have agreed to follow.

Ofcom, the UK’s independent broadcast regulator, sets clear rules in its Broadcasting Code for licensed broadcasters to meet to ensure UK audiences are adequately protected from harmful material.

In addition, the government has been clear that more needs to be done to ensure safety online. Therefore this government is introducing new Online Harms legislation. This will require companies to tackle abuse on their services and take reasonable steps to protect users’ safety online. Users will be better able to report abuse, and should expect to receive appropriate support from the relevant platform if they do so.

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