The next few months will see major changes in the UK framework for content regulation: the revised AVMS Directive will extend regulation to video sharing platforms, Brexit will require changes to the ‘Country of Origin’ principle that applies to traditional broadcasting, and the UK government is expected to implement its proposals for the regulation of online harms. These are complex and important issues, because of the need to address legitimate concerns without threatening freedom of expression. There is also a strong international dimension to this debate, given the global nature of modern media businesses. In this workshop we stepped back from the detail, and asked what scope there is for countries with similar democratic traditions to find common ground.
Clare Sumner CBE joined the BBC in January 2014 as the Chief of Staff to the BBC Director-General during the Charter Review.
Ms Sumner is now the BBC’s Director, Policy leading the development of UK and EU public policy in areas of strategic importance to the BBC, as well as leading the BBC’s government relations at UK and EU levels. Ms Sumner is also responsible for the BBC’s regulatory strategy and the relationship with the BBC’s regulator, Ofcom.
Prior to this, Ms Sumner worked for the Civil Service in a variety of roles including leading the Civil Service Reform Programme, managing the Criminal Courts and working in the heart of Government both in the Cabinet Office and as Private Secretary to the Prime Minister leading on the legislative programme and Prime Minister’s Questions. Over her career Clare has advised on a wide range of Government policy and has specialised in constitutional, media and criminal justice policy.
Ms Sumner has held board level positions as a NED/trustee in the charity sector, education and the NHS.
Gareth Barr is an experienced policy, strategy and regulatory advisor in the media space. He joined ITV as Controller of Policy & Regulatory Strategy in 2018, covering issues such as advertising policy, platform regulation, and the future of public service broadcasting.
Mr Barr is a Director at BCAP, which writes the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising overseen by the ASA. Prior to joining ITV, Mr Barr spent six years at Ofcom, working on the developing of the BBC’s regulatory framework and managing the third review of PSB. In five years at the BBC Trust he worked on issues across the BBC’s public and commercial services.
Maria Donde works for the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom) as the Head of International Content Policy, covering media, content and broadcasting issues. She leads on Ofcom’s engagement with other European media regulators, most particularly through EPRA (where is currently a Vice-Chair) as well as international bodies, and represents Ofcom on the full range of media policy questions. She oversaw Ofcom’s input into the recently concluded negotiations on the AVMS Directive and manages its relationship with the European Commission on matters relating to the Directive. She was recently elected as Chair of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on Media Environment and Reform.
Ms Donde’s regulatory background is in advertising, having spent four years at the Advertising Standards Authority before joining Ofcom’s Broadcasting Standards department. Prior to that, she worked in media analysis, and before that as a radio producer for the BBC World Service. She has a Modern Languages degree from Cambridge University and a Masters degree in Literary Translation.
Mark Bunting was appointed Content Policy Director at Ofcom in 2019. He is responsible for developing Ofcom’s regulatory model for online content and conduct regulation, including the regulation of Video Sharing Platforms under the AVMS Directive, and its approach to Online Harms should Ofcom be confirmed as the designated regulator by Government.
He previously advised governments, regulators and corporations on digital policy and regulation as a member of Communications Chambers. Prior to that he served in a variety of senior roles at the BBC, including Head of Strategy for News and Head of Distribution Strategy.
Susan Ness is a former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission and the founder of Susan Ness Strategies, a communications policy consulting firm. Ms Ness is a distinguished fellow at both the German Marshall Fund, where she works on transatlantic digital policy issues, and at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania (APPC), where she convenes a transatlantic high level working group to address hate speech, violent extremism and viral deception online while protecting freedom of expression and a vibrant, global internet.
Previously, Ms Ness was a senior fellow at the SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations (Johns Hopkins University). Ms Ness served on the US Federal Communications Commission from 1994 to 2001, playing a leading role on spectrum policy, competition and new technologies. She taught international and domestic communications policy at the Annenberg School for Communication (U.PA) after completing her FCC service. She was founder and CEO of GreenStone Media, which produced talk radio programming for women.
Ms Ness currently serves on the board of TEGNA Inc (NYSE-TGNA) a broadcast and multi-platform media company, and on the board of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an NGO that invests in women’s leadership worldwide.
Dr Stephen Unger was until recently a Board member of Ofcom, the UK regulator responsible for digital communications. He had various responsibilities, including setting regulatory strategy for the UK, representing the UK internationally, and leading Ofcom’s technology programme. For a period he was Acting Chief Executive.
Before becoming a regulator Dr Unger spent several years in the private sector. He worked for a variety of high-tech start-ups who were developing and exploiting new wireless technologies.
Dr Unger’s current focus, working as a non-executive board member, consultant, and academic, is on the practical implications of disruptive technology change. He is a member of the IIC Board, and heads its UK chapter.
For more background see www.linkedin.com/in/ungersteve. Dr Unger can be contacted at email@example.com
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