Ofcom vows to uphold free speech

Ofcom has pledged to uphold free speech, following the news that it will have new powers to regulate internet content.

The Government has recently announced plans to use the communications regulator to enforce a statutory duty of care on social media companies.

Campaigners had raised concerns that the powers could be used to curtail freedom of speech.


Writing in The Times, Ofcom’s Group Content Director Kevin Bakhurst emphasised the organisation’s commitment to freedom of speech.

“Free speech is the beating heart of our democracy, values and modern society. It is also central to our work as the UK’s broadcasting watchdog”.

“I believe the UK can be a global pioneer in making the web a better place – through workable rules that reflect our fundamental rights and safeguard our society.”

Chilling effect

Earlier this week, the former Chairman of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission warned that censoring opinions in the media is having a “chilling effect” on society.

Highlighting the current controversy in the Labour party over proposals to expel members for believing in biological sex, Trevor Phillips said: “You don’t have to agree with somebody that that’s true to say that that’s a reasonable thing to debate.”

“Offending somebody is now becoming something punishable by sacking or exclusion.”