NUJ welcomes support of PSBs in the draft Media Bill

  • 29 Mar 2023

The union said guaranteeing public service broadcasters prominence on streaming platforms and smart devices is good news, as is bringing the tech giants into line with the rules followed by linear TV.

The NUJ has welcomed long needed changes to broadcasting, bringing the industry and its regulation up to date in law in the digital age.

A daft Media Bill has been published which:

  • Brings Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ under new Ofcom rules and ensures public service broadcasters’ on-demand services are easy to discover on smart TVs and streaming sticks.
  • Guarantees access to UK radio on smart speakers.
  • Requires streaming services to provide subtitles, audio description and signing.
  • Provides the watchdog Ofcom with powers to investigate and take action to enforce standards on video on demand services.
  • Allows Channel 4 to produce its own programmes.

Paul Siegert, NUJ national broadcasting organiser, said:

“There is a lot in the draft Media Bill which supports public sector broadcasters, and it goes some way to level the playing field with the tech giants by bringing them under Ofcom rules. The public needs protection from misinformation and fake news and public service broadcasting must be able to prosper in the busy broadcasting market. We do have some concerns, however, about the proposed relaxation of the public service remit and will be scrutinising the Bill when it is published, which we hope is soon.”

The draft Bill will remove geographic restrictions from S4C, the Welsh language broadcaster and ensure major TV sporting events such as the Olympic Games, Grand National, Wimbledon finals and World Cup remain free to watch on PSBs. It will repeal section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which is not in force, but would require news publishers to pay both sides’ costs in any legal proceedings if not a member of an approved regulator.

Draft Media Bill

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