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Interesting Times


I chanced upon an interesting blog post from Alec Muffett last night, he was pointing out pointing out that the draft operative provisions for a Royal Charter for a Recognition Panel to govern the press will, as drafted, affect everyone who posts in the UK.

The key words are tucked away in Schedule 4 (page 18) where it says (relevant sections highlighted):

  1. For the purposes of this Charter:
    1. "Regulator" means an independent body formed by or on behalf of relevant publishers for the purpose of conducting regulatory activities in relation to their publications;
    2. "relevant publisher" means a person (other than a broadcaster) who publishes in the United Kingdom:
      1. a newspaper or magazine containing news-related material, or
      2. a website containing news-related material (whether or not related to a newspaper or magazine);
    3. "broadcaster" means:
      1. the holder of a licence under the Broadcasting Act 1990 or 1996;
      2. the British Broadcasting Corporation; or
      3. Sianel Pedwar Cymru;
    4. a person "publishes in the United Kingdom" if the publication takes place in the United Kingdom or is targeted primarily at an audience in the United Kingdom;
    5. "news-related material" means:
      1. news or information about current affairs;
      2. opinion about matters relating to the news or current affairs; or
      3. gossip about celebrities, other public figures or other persons in the news.

So it's not just the print media they're after here: that means me and everyone else who is blogging in the UK "opinion about matters relating to the news or current affairs".

Someone argued in the comments that pretty much everyone posting to Twitter and Facebook posts "opinion about matters relating to the news or current affairs" so:

As it stands, and as Twitter and Facebook are included in scope, the Regulator, once it forms, needs to be able to handle a spike of (mental arithmetic: UK population circa 66 million, minus 7 million for marginalised people who have not used the Internet according to the ONS, minus say another 7 million under-10s who have yet to post anything news-related, minus a few more for my errors and convenient rounding) 45 million registration requests...

But I'm not sure that's right. I think that Facebook or Twitter is the "relevant publisher" in this case.

It's bloggers like me using our own domain who are the ones who need to keep an eye on this one as we may want to register with the Board later.

Tags: blogging, national politics Written 19/03/13

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