Amendment 1

Part of Media Bill - Report and Third Reading – in the House of Lords am 4:00 pm ar 23 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Thornton Baroness Thornton Shadow Spokesperson (Equalities and Women's Issues), Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport) 4:00, 23 Mai 2024

My Lords, as the Minister knows, we are keen that the Bill should be on the statute book, as is the whole of the media world, which has been telling us, even as late as today, “Please, can you make sure that it goes through?” These Benches certainly support that.

It a shame that we have not had more time on the Bill. As the noble Baroness, Lady Bonham-Carter, just said, there is a lot of consensus across the House about how it might have been improved, but I hope that the Minister gives us some comfort about the amendments in this group.

We strongly support the noble Baroness, Lady Bull, in her amendments about Reithian principles and education, as we did recently in Committee. We are also keen to support those amendments which concern children, one of which is my own. We thought that the noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin, made a very powerful point in Committee and even more so today. The request for a review is a modest one and, if the Minister is not able to accept this amendment, I would hope that we can persuade Ofcom that it needs to do this. As the regulator in this world, it needs to take some responsibility and do this review. I therefore hope, along with the noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin, that somebody is listening out there in Ofcom who might do something helpful with this.

I hope that the Minister will address the issues in my amendment, which seeks to ask Ofcom to ensure that minimum standards for age rating are adhered to. That is not to say that it should use a particular method or providers, but there should be some minimum standards, so that parents across the country understand the age ratings for the material that their children are watching. That is very straightforward and simple, and it should be part of Ofcom’s duties.

I think that the noble Lord, Lord Addington, and the whole House agreed with the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, about the need to get the issues around listed events sorted out. If the Minister is unable to accept this amendment, he needs to acknowledge that this will have to be dealt with, particularly over the summer, as we move towards the Olympic Games again, because the legislation is not in tune with the broadcasting for the different events and how people wish to access them.

In a way, this group is a distillation of the discussions that we have been having in Committee. We absolutely support the noble Baroness, Lady Fraser. I shall not try to pronounce “Gaelic”. I realise that, because half my family is from Ireland, I was using the Irish pronunciation, for which I apologise. Again, these are modest amendments, which I hope the Minister will be able to give us some comfort with today.