DAILY MAIL COMMENT: NEVER has the free Press and media been more important than at this pivotal moment in European history. That’s why it’s vital tech giants are prevented from blocking legitimate news content
Never has the free Press and media been more important than at this pivotal moment in European history.
With Vladimir Putin throwing up a smokescreen of fake news to mask his barbaric war on Ukraine, Western journalists risk life and limb daily to tell the real story. Their heroics remind us that freedom of expression is not a given. It must be cherished and fought for.
Even here in Britain the free Press is under threat. The revised Online Safety Bill due to be published on Thursday is designed to make social media firms responsible for tackling illegal content and protecting children from online harms.
The revised Online Safety Bill is due to be published on Thursday (stock picture)
But for all its undoubted good intentions, it contains a highly dangerous flaw.
Algorithms used by tech giants to remove harmful material could also block the online output of bona fide news organisations. For example, legitimate stories about terrorism or child abuse could be blocked by default – with crushing effect on press freedom.
Thankfully Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries recognises the problem and says she has ‘every intention of further improving the requirements for platforms not to remove content from recognised media outlets’.
This welcome acknowledgement must be followed by detailed proposals to amend the Bill. In an ideal world, legitimate online news outlets would be taken out of it altogether. Failing that, they must be fully protected against unintended censorship.
We simply can’t allow algorithms dreamed up in Silicon Valley to dictate what the British public should, and should not, be allowed to know.