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Wednesday 1 August 2007

Electoral Commission wants blog regulation?


The Electoral Commission, which oversees the democratic process in the UK, is increasingly uncomfortable about a lack of regulation governing election campaigning online.

At the moment there is a legal requirement to include an imprint on all printed political material, stating whom it promotes and who produced it.

Although encouraged as good practice, there is no similar requirement for blogs and websites, muddying the waters of what constitutes political comment and outright party political promotion.

The Commission has passed its concerns up the line to its newly formed parent, the Ministry of Justice.

"It's definitely becoming more of an issue, and it's something we are constantly reviewing," said a spokesperson.

Nothing on their website? I found this. Electoral Commission 2003:

Doorstep to desktop: online election campaigning reviewed in new report: "the report stresses the value of allowing these new methods of communication to develop and provide a platform for free speech for election campaigners and voters without excessive regulation."

What's changed that they are now 'increasingly uncomfortable'? What are they proposing regarding 'what constitutes political comment and outright party political promotion' on blogs?

1 comment:

  1. I'm not quite sure what they're getting so worked up about either. Isn't as simple as saying if you are directly affiliated with a political party (e.g. a campaigning member, MP, employee of, etc.) then you must declare who you are. If you're just a commentator/journo/business then free speech dictates you can say what you like even if it promotes only one parties politics.

    I.e. 'regulate' the bit that already has some controls and responsibilities for being accountable etc. and leave the rest. Surely we're not so dumbed down as a nation we can tell an official source from general comment... hmm, perhaps not - I think I just shot my argument in the foot. *sigh*