Below is an open letter from Gen-Z Talks to Peers in the House of Lords. Gen-Z Talks is an online magazine aimed at young people. This is their thoughts about the Online Safety Bill. You can read the IMA's statement on our website.
Dear Peers of the House of Lords,
My name is Estelle Uba. I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Gen-Z Talks magazine, an online publication that covers and analyses current affairs from the perspective of young people.
I am writing this letter to express my concerns regarding the Online Safety Bill. The introduction of this new Bill would require social media platforms to regulate themselves, with an exemption for content posted by "recognised news publishers". This automatically excludes many independent, regulated news publishers.
In this Bill as it stands, “news publishers” are defined by having a UK address and a team of staff or contributors. Not every independent publication will have either of these. I speak on behalf of Gen-Z Talks Magazine when I say that this worries us personally, as we do not have a registered address. We run the magazine from our own individual homes, and I started the publication from scratch in my bedroom. Our team is also a very small one, made up of students and recent graduates who are passionate about using media to drive positive change.
In a society that celebrates freedom of expression, it is extremely crucial that we don’t begin to stifle the voices of those who are least powerful, especially independent media. Independent media outlets tend to lend a voice to, and represent the interests and concerns of those who are underrepresented in traditional legacy media newsrooms. They offer diversity and a range of perspectives in a media landscape that vastly lacks diversity.
As a youth-led independent media outlet, our hope is that our magazine, as well as other independent publications, are protected and have access to the exemption. Thank you for your time.
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Gen-Z Talks