On 19th March 2018, Dame Caroline Spelman, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, answered a written question from Sir Mark Hendrick, the Labour/Co-op Member for Preston, about churches involved in the WiSpire scheme:
Sir Mark Hendrick: To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, pursuant to the answer of 13 March 2018 to Question 131116 on Churches: Blackburn, what assessment has been made of the potential merits of drafting contracts for church spires and towers to host broadband and mobile facilities which take into account circumstances in which Church authorities subsequently wish to demolish such buildings to make alternative use of Church land.
Continue reading “Caroline Spelman answers written question about WiSpire”
On 15th March 2018 the Bishop of Gloucester asked a question she had tabled to Government on online hate speech. The exchanges are below, including the follow-up questions asked by other Members.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to combat hate speech online.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con): My Lords, this Government abhor all forms of hate speech. It is clear that what is illegal offline is also illegal online. That is why we are taking a cross-government approach through the hate crime action plan, which will be refreshed this year. We are funding an online hate crime hub, building digital resilience and have successfully worked with industry and partners internationally to agree the removal of illegal content within 24 hours.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, we know that websites and apps have brought many benefits, but at a cost. From my own visits to schools, I am particularly concerned about the hate speech that young people are exposed to online, including through anonymous apps like Sarahah. What are the Government doing to ensure that the age verification checks on apps are effective? How are the Government working with smaller developers to ensure that their platforms are not used to propagate threats and hate speech? Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester asks Government what they are doing to combat hate speech online”
On 13th March 2018 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Dame Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Sir Mark Hendrick MP about using church spires in the Blackburn diocese for wi-fi and broadband: Continue reading “Church Commissioner Written Answers: wi-fi and broadband in Blackburn diocese”
On 11th January 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Kidron “That this House takes note of the role played by social media and online platforms as news and content publishers.” The Bishop of Gloucester spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, for obtaining this debate. I, too, thank her for her tireless work in this area.
Social media and online platforms now play an enormous role in shaping national dialogue and accepted social standards. In my visits to primary schools and secondary schools in the diocese of Gloucester, I have spent time talking with children about social media, and I affirm all that is good. Yet, as children progress to secondary school, their view of themselves and the world is increasingly being shaped by social media and online platforms. Young people are receiving strong messages about worth being about looking a certain way and about success being measured in online likes. Furthermore, their fears about the world they are growing up in are being fuelled by what they read online. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester urges greater requirements for online platforms to identify and remove harmful content”
On 7th November 2017, the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Best, ‘That this House takes note of the Report from the Communications Committee, Growing up with the internet.’ The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, spoke in the debate, which was also reported in the Telegraph newspaper.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, like other noble Lords, I am very grateful to the Select Committee for this report, and I agree with so much that has been said already. So many young people today source their identities from social media and internet advertising, which has resulted in low self-esteem and poor mental health. Over the last 18 months or so, I have been spearheading a campaign called Liedentity, which is focused around body image and challenging the lie that our value comes from our physical appearance. Continue reading “Bishop of Gloucester – crucial to work with young people on internet and social media reforms”
On 7th November 2017, the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Best, ‘That this House takes note of the Report from the Communications Committee, Growing up with the internet.’ The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, who serves on the Communications Committee, spoke in the debate. His speech is below, and was also reported in the Telegraph and Mail newspapers.
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, it is a great joy to follow the noble Baroness, Lady Kidron. I support the amendments she is pioneering through the House. They are extremely important. It is also a great honour, and a great education, to serve on the Select Committee on Communications. As other members of it have said, I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Best, for the admirable and skilful way he led us through this. I welcome the noble Lord, Lord Gilbert, as our new chair.
So much in this report is critical to the sort of world we want to live in, the well-being of our nation, our public life and particularly our children. In his opening speech the noble Lord, Lord Best, outlined disturbingly well the challenges and dangers. Although I welcome the initial responses we have heard from the Government, much more still needs to be done to join all this up and make sure the needs of the child are put at the centre. Among the many important recommendations we offer, I draw attention to just two, because they are important in themselves and illustrate the larger, central point of our report—that government must take up the challenge to ensure that all those who work in the digital world work together to support the needs of children in an integrated and overarching response. Continue reading “Bishop of Chelmsford says digital world needs children’s best interests at heart”
On 20th September 2017 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received written answers to two questions about the regulation of online gambling:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans:
(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to regulate the use of electronic data by betting firms and their affiliates to target online advertising at specific groups.
(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to incorporate a review of online gambling into the Triennial Review of Gaming Machine Stake and Prize Limits. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about regulation of online gambling”