Government to consult on new rules for ‘harmful’ content on streaming platforms

New rules aimed at protecting viewers of streaming platforms from “harmful” material such as misinformation and pseudoscience could be introduced by the Government.

A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said a new consultation could result in streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ becoming subject to stricter rules.

Unlike broadcasters such as the BBC or Sky, streaming platforms are not subject to Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code, which sets out standards for content in areas including offensive material, accuracy, fairness and privacy.

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(Nick Ansell/PA)

The consultation could mean “audiences – particularly children – receive a consistent level of protection on video-on-demand services as they do on traditional broadcasters”, DCMS said

The department said some streaming platforms have taken “welcome” steps to introduce their own standards and procedures “but the extent of these measures varies across services”.

“Age ratings are also inconsistent and sometimes non-existent,” the statement added.

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Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden (Yui Mok/PA)

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We want to give UK audiences peace of mind that however they watch TV in the digital age, the shows they enjoy are held to the same high standards that British broadcasting is world-renowned for.

“It is right that now we have left the EU, we look at introducing proportionate new rules so that UK audiences are protected from harm.”

The Government is also currently consulting on plans to privatise Channel 4.