PPA welcomes UK Government’s Draft Online Safety Bill

The UK’s Professional Publishers Association (PPA) has welcomed the government’s new draft Online Safety Bill, which was announced last weekThe bill aims specifically to protect young people and clamp down on racist abuse online, while safeguarding freedom of expression including journalistic content.

In a statement provided to FIPP, in response to the move, Owen Meredith, PPA CEO said: “PPA welcomes the publication of draft Online Safety Bill and the government’s intention to establish a new regulatory regime to address illegal and harmful content online, while enshrining accountability and protections for democratic debate.” 

“We welcome the commitment from the government to ensure protection of press freedom with the draft legislation including an explicit exemption for content on news publishers’ websites and below-the-line comments on such content. While we understand this exemption will include magazine journalism, we are seeking formal clarification to confirm this content remains out of scope of the legislation.”

He’s not the first industry voice to express relief that journalistic freedoms so far at least appear to have been left untouched by the bill. Last week, Marcela Kunova, Editor of Journalism.co.uk, told us: 

“We welcome the effort to protect young people online and clamp down on abuse and spread of misinformation. In its current form, the bill states that journalistic content will be largely exempted and so will be citizen journalism, which could be a minefield for social platforms. We will keep on monitoring the debate around the bill and inform the journalistic community about its implications.”

UK magazine industry worth £3.74bn

It’s been a big week for the UK’s magazine media sector, as well as its Professional Publishing Association (PPA), who on Friday broke the news that combined consumer and business magazine media contributed £3.74bn in Gross Value Added (GVA) to UK PLC in 2019. This represents 35% of UK publishing and accounts for 55,000 jobs. Within this, the industry generates £518.9m of net inflow to UK PLC through exports to the world, with 73 million magazines sold to export markets in 2019.

In a statement published alongside the report, Meredith said: “This new PPA insight report captures the true scale, impact and reach of the sector and confirms the significant contribution of consumer magazine and business media to the UK, both economically and culturally.”

“At the heart of the industry are brands who have a deep engagement with their audiences, speaking to consumers passions, hobbies and interests, as well as supporting individuals and businesses to do their jobs better. We have seen throughout the pandemic how audiences have valued this trusted relationship, with growing reach and truly multi-platform engagement reaching more people than ever.”

And that provides a fitting end to Owen’s time at the PPA, as he officially marks his last day at the Association this week. Having been at the company for seven years, and in position as Managing Director and more recently CEO for the last three, Owen has overseen a period of tremendous success for both the PPA and the sector at large. FIPP works closely with national media associations around the world including the UK PPA, and we wish Owen ongoing success in the next chapter of his career! 

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