What's on the agenda this month
by Plamen Sandrev, Monitoring Consultant
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is gearing up for a busy July despite recess being just around the corner. A strong focus will be placed on the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, which has entered committee stage. This means that in July parliamentarians will have the chance to examine and scrutinise the Bill in detail.
On 2 July, Chatham House will host a research event on the topic of social media and internet regulation.
Several consultations and inquires will also see their closure. The consultation on the proposed Sky Fox merger is closing on 4 July. This has been a politically contentious issue, as potential expansion could give media mogul Rupert Mogul event more control over the UK’s media agenda.
BEIS’s consultation on modernising the consumer markets is also closing on the same day. The consultation seeks views on how consumers can be helped to benefit from their data and remain protected when they buy and sell online.
June was an eventful month for the tech, media, and telecoms sectors. On the media front, the DCMS Department has finally issued the long-awaited call for evidence on the issues affecting press around the country.
June also saw the departure of Daily Mail’s long-standing editor, Paul Dacre. Mr Dacre stepped down after three decades at the helm.
In Westminster, Parliamentarians looked helpless in their efforts to summon Arron Banks and Dominic Cummings to give evidence before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Members had to go through complex and lengthy parliamentary procedures to bring Mr Banks and Mr Cummings to scrutiny.
Ofcom, the communications regulator, published a rather damning report, highlighting the issue of underrepresentation and lack of diversity in the radio industry.
Social media and internet regulation dominated the agenda heavily. The Government brought to Parliament the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill. The Bill will be designed to tackle emerging cyber threats, namely glorifying violence, child sexual exploitation, and terrorism.
In addition to the Bill, the Home Office announced the creation of a social media hub, tasked with disrupting and removing overt and covert gang-related online content.
NHS CEO piled on pressure on social media companies, accusing the platforms of fuelling the ongoing mental health crisis amongst children.
June was also marked by the Matt Hancock’s decision not to refer the merger of certain publishing assets of Trinity Mirror and Northern & Shell Media Group Ltd. for a phase 2 investigation.
EU citizens working in the tech, media and telecoms industries took a deep breath of relief when the Home Office officially announced the scheme under which they can apply for a ‘settled status’ in the UK.
Another prominent issue dominating the month was child obesity, and in particular the challenges around ‘junk food’ advertising. Parliamentarians have been increasingly talking about tightening the rules around advertising of products containing high amounts of salt and sugar. The Government also published the second part of its plan to tackle childhood obesity, intending to consult on the matter before the end of 2018.
During London Tech Week the Prime Minister hosted a “raft of cutting-edge companies for a roundtable”. £2.3bn of private investment and 1,600 jobs new were announced.
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Plamen is DeHavilland’s Policy Executive for the Media, Tech and Telecoms sector. Plamen has previously worked at the Parliamentary office of an MP. He is a graduate of the University of Birmingham, and holds a Masters in European Studies.