Media: Disinformation

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology written question – answered am ar 1 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Exports)

To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what support is available to media organisations to (a) detect and (b) counteract foreign disinformation.

Photo of Saqib Bhatti Saqib Bhatti Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)

The Government takes the issue of information threats to national security seriously, and the UK has a strong record of working closely with a wide range of different stakeholders to tackle these risks.

We recognise the invaluable role of a free and independent press in providing accurate and reliable information. Government works to complement the efforts of our independent press sector through a number of initiatives to counter disinformation.

For example, in 2022 the Government provided the BBC World Service with £4.1m emergency funding to help it to continue to bring independent, impartial and accurate news to people in Ukraine and Russia and counter disinformation in the face of increased propaganda from the Russian state. The Government has also directly sanctioned Russia-backed state media organisations who spread disinformation, helping to prevent the most prolific and harmful sources of disinformation from spreading propaganda to UK audiences online.

The Government has also recently passed the Online Safety Act (OSA), which includes the Foreign Interference Offence as a priority offence. This will require social media companies to take action against a wide range of state-sponsored disinformation and interference targeted at the UK. Ofcom will produce guidance for providers on how they should fulfil these duties. The consultation for this guidance closed in March 2024 and Ofcom is currently finalising these codes, due to come into force at the end of 2024.

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