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Chair comments on Report of Joint Committee on Draft Online Safety Bill

14 December 2021

DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight has given this comment on the publication by the Joint Committee of its Report on the Draft Online Safety Bill.

Chair's comment

DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said: 

“The Joint Committee’s report on areas covering findings and recommendations made by the DCMS Committee over many years is to be welcomed. We congratulate them on a body of work that will help inform our scrutiny of the area for the rest of this Parliament.

“Where we would have liked to have seen the Joint Committee go further after many months of taking evidence is to come up with a definition of what disinformation is. The failure to reach a consensus and the solution proposed runs the risk of endangering freedom of expression.

“'The Government has repeatedly stated that what is illegal offline should be illegal online. The Joint Committee acknowledged this by recommending that criminal offences which can be committed online appear on the face of the Bill. We are concerned that the proposed Joint Committee brings a layer of bureaucracy to the addition of future offences, adding time to the process for no readily apparent benefit to the House or the public, that it draws on the limited time of MPs, and comes at a cost of £500,000 a year when a comprehensive system of select committees already exists.”

Further information

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