ATVOD advocates greater reliance on OPA

The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) has published its submissions to the UK Council on Child Internet Safety and to the Lords Communications Committee relating to Media Convergence and Public Policy on 18 October 2012.

The documents address how to tackle the problem of access to content harmful to children, including access to pornography.

Highlights of ATVOD´s emerging public policy positions include acknowledging the limitations of the currently regulatory scheme, especially in relation to services that originate from outside the UK.

¨ATVOD recognises the near impossibility of protecting all children from all online harm all of the time, but takes the view that a policy designed to protect a significant number of children from a significant amount of harm a significant amount of the time is worthwhile, ¨ the co-regulator said.

ATVOD´s submission to the UK Council for Child Internet Safety expressed the view that while parental controls and media education are part of the solution, their effectiveness could not be relied upon. Within this landscape, ATVOD called for more active enforcement of existing laws, including the Obscene Publications Act.

A total of 23 UK-based porn sites have been investigated over violations of Rule 11, which requires that access to porn is gated by an effective Content Access Control System, enabling verification that the user is 18 or over at the point of registration or access. However many more services originate from out of the UK, and ¨ATVOD has no power to impose similar restrictions on hardcore porn websites operating from outside the UK but accessible from within the UK, including by UK children¨, it said.