Exemptions, exceptions and exclusions: Why the Online Safety Bill protects disinformation and abuse over freedom of speech and journalism

The UK’s Online Safety Bill has been lauded by the government as “world-leading,” with claims that it will make the UK the “safest place in the world” to go online. Major loopholes in the bill, however, mean this bill represents online safety in name only. Moreover, the UK has just become a signatory to the Declaration for the Future of the Internet.

Among other things, the declaration affirms the UK’s commitment to ‘ensure that the Internet reinforces democratic principles and human rights and fundamental freedoms’ and that ‘the well-being of all individuals [is] protected and promoted’, and to ‘promote safe and equitable use of the Internet for everyone, without discrimination’, encouraging ‘pluralism without fear of censorship, harassment or intimidation.’As currently drafted, the Online Safety Bill fundamentally fails to meet the ambitions set out in these principles.

Read our joint civil society briefing here.