On 12th June 2019 the House of Lords debated a report from the Communications Committee, “That this House takes note of the Report from the Communications Committee Regulating in a digital world (2nd Report, HL Paper 299).” The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, who served on the Committee, spoke in the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, I too want to say what a great honour—and, indeed, an education—it has been to serve on the Communications Select Committee for this House, and to have had a small say in the production of this important report. It is always a great joy to follow the noble Lord, Lord Gordon, and, indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Gilbert, who has chaired our committee with such wit and patience.
The Government have already committed themselves to making the United Kingdom the safest place in the world to be online. The ideas in this report explain that this does not necessarily require more regulation, but a different approach to regulation. It is not an exaggeration to say that this is one of the big moral challenges of our day. We need to get it right, especially for our children, for there are no longer two worlds, the online and offline, but the one digital environment that we all inhabit and that needs a set of principles to govern not just its oversight but its future development.