Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with OFCOM regarding guidance for (1) the BBC, and (2) other media organisations, concerning the (a) accuracy, and (b) sensitivity, of reporting of issues relating to hate crime.
Ofcom has long-standing broadcasting rules through its Broadcasting Code, protecting against hate speech and prohibiting material likely to incite crime or lead to disorder, which apply to all broadcasters, including the BBC. Ofcom rules ensure that news, in whatever form, is reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality. Ofcom rules allow broadcasters to include hate speech in their output as long as it is justified by the context. Ofcom guidance also requires that broadcasters take into account sensitivity across the public and/or within communities.
Separate rules for video-on-demand services prohibit incitement to hatred. In November 2021 Ofcom updated its guidance further to protect users from harmful material. In August 2021, the Government launched a consultation to level the playing field between traditional broadcasters and video-on-demand streaming services, in order to provide a fair competitive framework and ensure that viewers in the UK receive equivalent standards. We are now considering our response to that consultation and will publish next steps in due course.
Ofcom’s Video Sharing Platform rules require providers to take appropriate measures to protect against harmful material, including incitement to violence or hatred against particular groups of people.