Richard Sharp, BBC Chairman, is likely to back proposals to increase regulation of the world’s largest social networks and platforms to combat “fake news” and “disinformation.”
It is pertinent to ask “urgent questions” about these platforms, since platforms have allowed lies, conspiracy theories, and falsehoods to spread rapidly, the chairman claimed in a speech to the Royal Television Society convention.
Since assuming office in February, Sharp will make his first significant public statement, calling for an update to outdated Communications Act of 2003, calling for a crackdown on speech online.
He continued stating that he wants the BBC “to define itself globally as a pre-eminent purveyor of facts in the disinformation age.”
Sharp also claimed that “The pandemic and ‘infodemic’ that has spread alongside have left us in no doubt of how vulnerable we all are. But it has also suggested that some are more vulnerable than others….The magnetic draw of conspiracy theories in our societies is getting stronger. And we can no longer pretend it doesn’t have real-life consequences – whether it’s pulling down 5G masts, driving down vaccine take up, or leaving the results of democratic elections in doubt, ” Televisual reported.
Even though the provision of fact-checking services and coordinating efforts between platforms and credible news organizations to detect misinformation is important, Sharp alleged more needed to be done.
“There are urgent questions to be answered about the future media world we want to live in. We need to rethink the regulatory environment in this country – and replace a Communications Act that predates Facebook with one that can deliver on a clear vision,” the chairman said.
“But we also need to look at where the digital world comes up against the fundamental rights, freedoms and privacies we sign up to as societies and individuals. Does the principle of media freedom need to be redefined and re-enshrined for the digital age? Do we need to claim our personal data as a human right, rather than an asset to be bought and sold?”