Government Statement as Cairncross Review proposes regulating internet giants

12 February 2019

The Cairncross Review into the future of UK news suggests that a regulator should oversee tech giants such as Google and Facebook, to ensure that their news content is accurate.

Led by former journalist, Dame Frances Cairncross, the independent review investigated the sustainability of high-quality journalism. It found that sites should help users identify "fake news" and "nudge people towards news of high quality".

It also makes recommendations about Ofcom's regulation of the BBC and called for a new institute of Public Interest news to be founded.

Following the results of the Cairncross Review, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright, made a statement to the Commons.

He informed the House that the review stated "while high quality journalism is desirable, there is one type of journalism that society cannot do without, and that is public interest journalism." It is this type of journalism, he went on to say, that is "under threat".

In his statement Jeremy Wright lent the Government's support to a market study from the Competition and Markets Authority into the digital advertising market. This would aim to establish whether the online market place was operating effectively, and whether it enables or prevents fair competition.

The statement was responded to by the Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Tom Watson. He told the House that the problem is clear, the only way you can reach consumers is through a decreasing number of increasing digital giants. He stated that over half of all advertising revenues are hoovered up by two companies, Google and Facebook.

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