UK: Evaluating Internet Content Regulations

According to the BBC, the UK government is evaluating a number of new Internet safeguards to protect children from content perceived as harmful or offensive.

The UK’s Culture Secretary Andy Burnham, who is spearheading the initiative calling for film-style age ratings, believes that new standards of decency are necessary. He intends as well to collaborate with the United States in creating a global content standard to regulate English-language websites.

Burnham claims that he is not intending to curb free speech, but rather is endeavoring to protect the public from media deemed “unacceptable.” As he stated in the interview with the BBC, “I think we do need to have a debate now about clearer signposting and labeling online because it can be quite a confusing world, particularly for parents who are trying to ensure their children are only accessing appropriate stuff.”

In terms of implementation, Burnham conceded that there are “enormous practical problems” that accompany government-mandated Internet content standards. He continued, stating, “there isn’t…an obvious body that could do this type of classification here in the UK at the moment, but it’s definitely an aspiration that many governments across the world are now reaching to.”