In an age of heightened digital awareness, it is time for internet giants to accept that submitting to regulation is the price of running a business, no matter where their HQ is based, this is what Siobhan Kenny, Radiocentre CEO told the Association of European Radios (AER) conference at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Kenny is attending the AER conference to discuss the topic of trust in media as well as the economic and public value of commercial radio. She will echo the words of UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who urged world leaders to do more to combat online extremism at the G7 summit in Sicily. May believes that more pressure should be put on tech companies to help tackle this growing phenomenon.
A recent investigation by The Times into advertising being sold alongside extremist content, and the problem of offensive content remaining online despite being reported, are just two examples of how the digital landscape can easily become the Wild West for brands and advertisers, Kenny will say.
“We are at a critical turning point in our digital development. Technology has changed consumers’ lives beyond recognition in the past 10 years and we have all rightly celebrated the innovation of the companies who have driven this transformation.
“But it is time for digital companies to fully grasp the ramifications of that rapid change, and for Governments to act in the interests of their citizens, in line with longstanding practice in broadcasting. The current Conservative Party manifesto notes the need for consistency in regulation for both online and offline media, and there is so much more that can be done, especially in terms of self-regulation.
“The commercial radio industry accepts that access to huge audiences requires us to comply with certain standards, overseen by Ofcom. We do, after all, reap the benefit of those large audiences by being able to sell advertising around our content. And while content regulation may be challenged and changed, the industry still has a responsibility to adhere to the rules which are ultimately in place for the interest of the public.
“Digital media owners have been slow to move to effective self-regulation. Therefore we do now need to ask whether national and international agreements on sanctions for those who continue to broadcast or publish inappropriate or worse, extremist material on their platforms is the next step. Digital media owners should understand their responsibility as broadcasters, whether they choose to term themselves as such or not.”