CIPR Comments on the new 'Digital Charter'

The CIPR has urged the UK government to consult widely before proceeding with its proposed new Digital Charter, outlined in the Queen’s Speech this morning.

We need an inclusive discussion so the public understands what is at stake and contributes to the debate. Any measures the government takes must also command public support, we argue. We question how far the government’s ideas on limiting encryption are technically workable, and we believe that a focus on taking down seriously damaging material will likely be more effective than extending general surveillance.

In its 2017 manifesto, the Conservative Party pledged to ‘establish a new framework that balances freedom with protection for users…that will make Britain the best place to start and run a digital business; and that we will make Britain the safest place in the world to be online.’

Rob Brown FCIPR, CIPR Vice President, Managing Partner of Rule 5
‘Public relations depends on a free press and on the free exchange of views and opinions.  A society in which people feel they are being watched all the time, and have to guard their words, is not a society where strong and sustainable relationships can be built between people, or between organisations and their publics. Many people will support the government’s intention to try and tackle cyberbullying, incitement to terror and other undesirable activities online.  However there remain legitimate reservations about allowing a government to simply create a permanent state of emergency online by giving itself powers on the internet it does not exercise elsewhere.  We don’t have police informers in every pub, and we don’t expect the post office to open our letters.’ 
Rob Brown FCIPR, CIPR Vice President, Managing Partner of Rule 5

The CIPR will continue to monitor and comment on proposals for the new Digital Charter as they come forward on the government’s legislative programme.

Notes to editors

About CIPR

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations is the UK’s professional body for public relations practitioners, operating under a Royal Charter granted in 2005. Founded as the Institute of Public Relations in 1948, its purpose is to promote for the public benefit high levels of skill, knowledge, competence, and standards of practice and professional conduct on the part of public relations practitioners. Whilst most of its members are UK-based, a significant number is based in over 85 countries.