19 January 2023
The forthcoming Media Bill will include provisions to repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act “which has for too long hung over the heads of our free press,” Media Minister Julia Lopez MP has said.
Speaking at an All-Party Parliamentary Media Group event this week, Ms Lopez said government was continuing to consider “all possible options” in the interests of promoting and sustaining our “invaluable press sector, particularly at a local level.”
Ms Lopez said government remained committed to bringing forward the Media Bill to update the 2003 Communications Act and would include the “important” repeal of Section 40 which has hung over the heads of the press.
She added: “But the Media Bill, while certainly important, will not be the Department’s only focus this year. I’m particularly excited in this context for the new Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill.
She said: “The pro-competition regime for digital markets will address a broad range of issues encompassing and going beyond the immediate interests of those in this room.
“It represents a key element of the government’s wider support for news publishers, helping to rebalance the power between big tech and those businesses – such as the press – that rely on them. And in doing so, it should address the core recommendations of the Cairncross Review into sustainable journalism.
“Beyond the Bill, we continue to consider all possible options in the interest of promoting and sustaining our invaluable press sector, particularly at a local level. And on this, I look forward to the DCMS Select Committee’s findings on the future of local journalism.
“We are also taking steps to ensure that the Online Safety Bill upholds our commitment to defending the invaluable role of a free media. We are clear that regulation must protect the vital role of the press in providing people with reliable and accurate information.
“This is why the Bill has safeguards for news publisher content and wider journalistic content when shared on in-scope platforms – safeguards which we’ve strengthened in the Commons.
“Recognised news publishers were already exempt from the Bill and when their content is shared on platforms – but now we’ve also introduced a requirement for major platforms to notify and offer them a right of appeal before removing or moderating any of their content.”