Culture secretary

Ofcom could regulate Netflix documentaries to tackle ‘misinformation’, says Culture Secretary

Meanwhile, the Netflix documentary Seaspiracy, about the impacts of ‘sustainable fishing’ on the marine environment, has been accused by interviewees who complained of misrepresenting their views. Ali Tabrizi, the British filmmaker behind the documentary, dismissed these claims.

Launching the consultation, Mr Dowden said: “While there are certain rules that [streaming] providers must follow to protect children from harmful content, there are few or no rules to protect the public from misleading health advice or pseudoscientific climate change documentaries.

The Culture Secretary said Brexit meant the UK now had the freedom to impose its own rules on streaming giants to ensure it met the same high standards expected by UK viewers.

Currently, streaming companies face less stringent rules over the content of their programs than traditional TV broadcasters in the UK.

Broadcasters must apply for a license from Ofcom and are then bound by its Broadcast Code, which sets standards for accuracy, as well as the fair treatment of people who appear in programmes.

Organizations that breach the code can face investigations by Ofcom, as well as fines and ultimately the revocation of their license.

Meanwhile, streaming companies only have to notify Ofcom if they want to stream in the UK.

They are then subject to a simplified set of regulations that only cover rules to protect those under 18 from inappropriate content, not to incite hatred with their programming, and commercial product placement.