Up until now, the UK government has always indicated that newspaper websites would not be caught up in the new internet censorship regime proposed in the Government's Online Harms white paper.
However it now seems that the government has backtracked
lest every websites claims to be a news service.
The Daily Mail reports that Julian Knight, chairman of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, has written to Culture Minister John Whittingdale over the proposed laws, after Home
Office lawyers claimed that granting a publishers exemption' would create loopholes. One source close to the ministerial arguments over the proposed laws said:
Government lawyers are arguing that the publishers
exemption would allow just anyone to claim it, so for instance you would have The Isis Times being able to distribute beheading videos.
The Tory MP Julian Knight told Whittingdale that Ministers in both DCMS and the Home Office should
resolve the impasse by allowing an exemption for authenticated and reliable news sources.
The Government has yet to respond, amid concerns that any action may be delayed by wrangling over legislation to stop harmful online material and fears that
antagonising powerful American-owned online platforms might jeopardise post-Brexit trade talks with the US.
What, you wonder, do they teach them in police college these days? Gangs, cyber crime, forensics, public safety, drugs --there's doubtless a lot to learn. But I would like to suggest a new and compulsory course, let's call it The
Basics Of Free Speech.
Lesson number 1. The police do not tell newspaper editors what to write.
You think this is too basic? That in 21st Century Britain no police officer would dream of telling a newspaper
editor not to publish information and meekly to hand back any leaked documents to their rightful owners?
If you think that, then you haven't been paying attention. You evidently missed Friday's statement from one of the most
senior officers [Neil Basu] in the , advising owners, editors, publishers -- along with anyone on social media -- exactly what they shouldn't publish.