Melon Farmers Original Version

Minister of Nasty Cultures


Andy Burnham as UK government internet censor


6th June
2009
  

Update: New Government Censors...

Reshuffling Ministers for Censorship

Health minister Ben Bradshaw has been appointed as the new culture secretary, replacing Andy Burnham, in a move that comes at a crucial time for the media industry as the government weighs up crucial decisions about the final Digital Britain report.

Bradshaw, a former BBC journalist and the MP for Exeter, is to take over as secretary for culture, media and sport. Burnham is heading the other way, to become health secretary.

The culture department faces some crucial decision over the next few weeks, with the Digital Report set to be published on 16 June.

Lets hope that Burnham's departures means an end to his madcap idea to classify the internet.

Meanwhile the government censor, Jack Straw stays as Minister of Injustice and Jacqui Smith's replacement Home Secretary has been named as Trade Unionist and party leadership contender, Alan Johnson.

Johnson's political leanings are hinted at on his profile from theyworkforyou.com :

  • Voted a mixture of for and against a transparent Parliament.
  • Voted moderately against introducing a smoking ban.
  • Voted strongly for introducing ID cards.
  • Voted very strongly for introducing foundation hospitals.
  • Voted strongly for introducing student top-up fees.
  • Voted very strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.
  • Voted very strongly for the Iraq war.
  • Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war.
  • Voted very strongly for replacing Trident.
  • Voted moderately for the hunting ban.
  • Voted very strongly for equal gay rights.
  • Voted for laws to stop climate change.

Sounds like Henry Porter is being a bit hopeful in his Memo to Alan Johnson from guardian.co.uk :

On Monday he should announce a review of the government's ID cards policy, an increasingly unpopular measure which is going to cost the taxpayer a minimum of £4.5bn and probably cause every adult in the country irritation and substantial expense, and yet will produce none of the significant gains in security the government has claimed for the scheme.

Stepping back from ID cards will check the advances the opposition have made in this area, as well as signal a change of tone in Labour thinking; moving away from New Labour's emphasis on increasing the authority of the state, against the power and self determination of the individual.

 

18th May
2009
  

Update: Filtered Out as Low Priority...

Andy Burnham's international internet censorship going nowhere fast

Months after announcing his intention to work with the Obama administration to develop new restrictions on unacceptable material online, Culture Secretary Andy Burnham is still waiting for anyone in Washington to listen to him.

At the end of December, Burnham took to the airwaves and newspaper pages to decry content that should just not be available to be viewed . He also suggested international cooperation to create a system of cinema-style age ratings for English language websites.

But yesterday in response to a question from the Liberal Democrats, Burnham's junior minister Barbara Follett conceded that four months into the new US administration, no progress had been made on the plans. Officials in London were still waiting for someone interested to be appointed across the Atlantic, she explained.

I remain keen to discuss an international approach to areas of public concern about certain internet content and look forward to engaging with the appropriate member of the US Administration once the relevant appointment has been made, Follett said.

 

12th March
2009
  

Internet TV Censor...

Burnham will create co-regulatory censor for Video on Demand services

Culture secretary Andy Burnham has confirmed he will create a co-regulatory body, led and funded by the industry, to take on responsibility for regulating programme content on video-on-demand services. Under the new rules, all UK providers of VOD services will need to notify the co-regulator that they are providing a service, Burnham's department for culture, media and sport said.

Burnham's announcement signals the UK government's acceptance of most of the provisions in the European Commission's new Audiovisual Media Services directive (AVMS), drafted in 2007 to replace its 20-year-old Television Without Frontiers rules. AVMS, which is being implemented by EU member states, makes the first regulatory distinction between linear and on-demand media, which was designated to get only light-touch regulation.

Burnham's implementation through co-regulation will throw the spotlight on the existing Association for Television On Demand (ATVOD), which has operated since 2003 to self-regulate the sector.

Burnham said: Video-on-demand services only come within the scope of the AVMS directive if they are mass media services whose principal purpose is to provide TV programmes to the public on demand.

But technology is changing rapidly and the interpretation already appears out-dated. Not only is YouTube already available on TV sets through Apple TV, Nintendo Wii etc, and not only do services like Joost absolutely want to provide TV shows on-demand… most web-based VOD services ultimately also want carriage to the TV, too. In appealing to those such services, BBC's Project Canvas, for example, is aiming to make internet VOD mass media , just as Burnham defined.

 

13th February
2009

 Offsite: Dangerous Computers Act...

Internet industry not supportive of government desire to regulate the internet

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

11th January
2009

 Offsite: Rated as Inept...

Andy Burnham takes a pounding on fellow MP's website

See article from tom-watson.co.uk

 

5th January
2009

 Offsite: Virtually impossible...

The Guardian comments on Burnham's bollox internet censorship idea

See article from guardian.co.uk

 

2nd January
2009

 Offsite: Pipedreams...

Government pipedreams on internet ratings doomed to fail

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

21st October
2008
  

Offsite: Government Internet No Go Gone...

UK government says: Regulate the internet

Answering questions from the floor at the Royal Television Society conference in London last month, Minister for Truth Andy Burnham said: The time has come for perhaps a different approach to the internet. I want to even up that see-saw, even up the regulation [imbalance] between the old and the new."

The idea that the internet was beyond legal reach and a space where governments can't go was no longer the case.

In his final annual lecture for Ofcom last week Lord Currie expressed a belief that tighter regulation was coming. He said: Ask most legislators today and, where they think about it, they will say that period [of forbearance] is coming to an end.

...Read full article

 

16th October
2008
  

Update: Bad Omens...

TV censor looks to becoming internet censor

Outgoing Ofcom chairman David Currie has said that his successor should expect the communications censor to have an expanded remit with responsibility for stricter control over internet content.

Currie, making what will be his final annual lecture for Ofcom before leaving at Easter next year, said there was an appetite among legislators for putting a tighter rein on the net now the medium had moved beyond its formative stages.

Echoing comments last month by culture secretary Andy Burnham, who argued that it was time for a different approach to tightening up taste and decency online, Currie said Ofcom was likely to find its remit expanded, following his departure, to encompass digital media.

Ask most legislators today, and, where they think about it, they will say that period [of forbearance] is coming to an end. To say this is not Ofcom going looking for trouble ... but a marker for my successor that Ofcom is likely to find its remit being stretched, he added.

Currie made it clear that any scenario that saw an expanded Ofcom remit would not simply import old broadcasting-style regulation to the internet.

 

4th October
2008
  

Offsite: Burnham Bollox...

Hobbling the internet to keep television safe is a bad idea

If the music industry had spent more time thinking of ways to deliver great music to its customers over the internet and less lobbying politicians and suing potential customers it would probably be thriving by now.

Book publishers, less certain of their own importance, are taking notice of the exciting experiments at Faber & Faber and Penguin instead of looking for protectionist legislation to keep the new media world at bay.

And for a while it looked like television was keen to embrace the possibilities for online delivery and greater engagement that the network offered.

Yet now it seems that Culture Secretary Andy Burnham thinks television in the UK is so special that it needs to be kept safe from attack by the nasty people of the online world.

Apparently it is time to "even up" regulation between the internet and television because those producing online material get an easy ride.

...Read full article

 

3rd October
2008
  

Offsite: Nasty Censorship Culture...

UK minister looks for delete key on user generated content

As we reported, Monday saw the launch of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS). This is one of the chief results of the Byron Review (pdf), and unites the great and the good of the internet world, under the guidance of Gordon Brown, in an effort to make the internet fit for our children.

One way in which it will do that is by preventing children from accessing "inappropriate content". In its first release, the Council declared that it would "establish voluntary codes of practice for user-generated content sites, making such sites commit to take down inappropriate content within a given time".

Although the release may appear consistent with the principles contained in the Byron Review, it is actually a serious extension of it. Preventing children from accessing content that is inappropriate to them has been subtly upgraded to a requirement that user-generated sites take down "inappropriate content".

...

In June, the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee delivered its report on what it considered to be harmful content on the internet. Recommendations from that report are due to be released to Parliament next week. Those interested in the future shape of the internet in the UK would do well to keep an ear open for any further casual remarks by Mr Burnham.

...Read full article from theregister.co.uk

 

1st October
2008
  

Update: Minister of Nasty Cultures...

Andy Burnham picks up the job of UK government internet censor

Video-sharing websites - such as YouTube - could be forced to carry cinema-style guidance ratings, it has emerged.

Ministers are planning to introduce tough new rules to make websites carry age certificates and warning signs on films featuring sex, violence or strong language.

Minister of Nasty Cultures, Andy Burnham, said that tougher content guidance would help parents monitor their children's internet use.

Burnham said he wanted online content to meet the same standards required for television and the cinema. At the moment, there is no overall regulation of the internet. He said video clips may soon have to carry ratings such as the 'U', 'PG', '12' and '18' ones used by cinemas.

Burnham pointed to the example of the BBC iplayer which carries content warnings on programmes screened after the 9pm watershed and allows parents to turn on a parental guidance lock to stop youngsters accessing inappropriate material.

He said: With the 9pm watershed, parents had complete clarity about the content. But with the internet, parents are ensure about what is appropriate and what isn't. We have to start talking more seriously about standards and regulation on the internet.

I don't think it is impossible that before you download something there is a symbol or wording which tells you what's in that content. If you have a clip that is downloaded a million times then that is akin to broadcasting.

It doesn't seem over-burdensome for these to be regulated.

His comments were backed by the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith who said she had been 'shocked' at some of the material viewed by her sons. She added: I do think it's important that parents of young children are clear, just as they are when going to see a film at the cinema, about what's appropriate and what isn't appropriate.

 

27th September
2008
  

Nasty Cultures...

Labour nutter plans internet censorship just to even things up for TV companies

The culture secretary, Andy Burnham, said that the government plans to crack down on the internet to even up the regulatory imbalance with television.

Burnham, in a keynote speech at the Royal Television Society conference in London, said that a fear of the internet had caused a loss of confidence that had robbed the TV industry of innovation, risk-taking and talent sourcing in programming.

Following the speech Burnham fielded questions from the floor, including one asking him to expand on the topic of the internet and the TV industry.

The time has come for perhaps a different approach to the internet. I want to even up that see-saw, even up the regulation [imbalance] between the old and the new.

He said that perhaps the wider industry, and government, had accepted the idea that the internet was beyond legal reach and was a space where governments can't go.

Burnham said that he would like to tighten up online content and services and lighten up some regulatory burdens around the TV industry.

Burnham added that the government had highlighted the way forward with its cross-industry and cross-departmental strategy , to tackle music piracy involving self-regulation: It is a new sign of our approach. It is not just about copyright or intellectual property but [things like] taste and decency in the online world. The time will come to say what are the direct interventions [needed, if any].




 

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