Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Quote of the day 9th May 2018

  • Proposed changes to the Data Protection Bill would further erode press freedom and have a severe chilling effect for the news environment in the UK.
  • The new clause 20 would mean that normally, those publishers that were not regulated by a recognised regulator would have to pay both sides’ legal costs in a data protection claim, whether they won or lost that claim.
  • The inclusion of Condition A has been widely interpreted as ensuring that news organisations structured along the lines of the Guardian and the Observer should be excluded from the scope of the broader clause. This clause was not discussed with Guardian News and Media and we disagree with attempts to impose a selective sanction on the media.
  • There is an important debate to be had about press standards, but the Data Protection Bill should not be used as a vehicle for imposing an unfair and partial system on publishers. 

"While the model used by the Scott Trust is recognised in the amendment as maintaining high standards of journalism, it is a structure that is unique among UK publishers and rare globally as a model for news organisations. We do not believe that singling out one model of ownership for news organisations in this way is a constructive approach. We live in an age of diverse ownership, constitutions and business models underpinning news organisations in this country and around the world. This amendment implies that just one ownership model can result in the production of high quality journalism, which is simply not correct."

(The above bullet points and quote are extracts from a statement made this week by Guardian News and Media, publishers of the Guardian and the Observer, severely criticising proposed amendments to the Data Protection Bill which are to be discussed today in the House of Commons.

The proposals which the publishers of the Guardian and Observer are criticising include a clause called "Condition A" which appears to be an attempt to spare those newspapers from what is being imposed on the rest of the press. In my opinion it is very much to their credit that they have come out and attacked this "unfair and partial" proposal.)

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