Government considers regulating social media
Minister of Education, Youth and Information Ruel Reid said the Government is having dialogue with the Broadcasting Commission with a view to putting on the table proposals to regulate a significant section of the local media landscape that is not now being regulated.
"When you now look at the media landscape, it (Broadcasting Commission) is now only regulating 20 per cent; 80 per cent is now in social media dimension. What are the guidelines? What are the ethics that should guide that particular sector?" Reid questioned.
The information minister highlighted the administration's concerns that the mainstream media was expanding into social media with no "clear regulatory guidelines for the persons who are operating in that".
His pronouncements in the Upper House yesterday triggered concerns among the parliamentary opposition, which cautioned against a move to censor the media.
The Government's chief spokesman, in a statement to the Senate, said that the administration was moving to address the consumption and influence of media content.
According to Reid, "In this era of disinformation and terrorist recruitment, there was the need to find a new balance between privacy rights and legitimate security concerns."
NOTE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
Responding to the statement, Leader of Opposition Business Mark Golding cautioned that it was not the "role of Government to be censoring the content of information that is available to the population".
Golding said he hoped the administration would seek to strike a balance between privacy rights and legitimate security concerns.
Contending that there was current legislation to protect the reputations of citizens, Golding said he was "intrigued and somewhat perturbed by this notion that the Government must address the consumption and influence of content in the media space".
Addressing the Opposition's concerns, Reid said it was not the administration's intention to censor the media.
"It's understanding how technology has evolved, and that content is a big issue. If it is that we are going to allow persons to operate in, whether formal or informal, how do you protect your children who now have access to all social media content?" Reid asked.
Pressed by the Opposition for greater clarity on the issue, Reid said the Government would not introduce a policy without a consensus between opposition and stakeholders in the media.