Industry News

Queen’s Speech 2022: Draft Bill to give the Digital Markets Unit statutory powers announced

By PPA Public Affairs Team

11 May 2022

On Tuesday, the Government set out plans to publish draft legislation which will give the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) the powers it needs to rebalance relationships between platforms and publishers.

The PPA has long campaigned for the Digital Markets legislation to be passed as soon as possible, and we look forward to working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the DMU to ensure that the Bill is given parliamentary time at the earliest opportunity. We recently welcomed the news that the DMU’s Codes of Conduct for platforms and publishers will include all content providers, including specialist media. The Codes will focus on platforms’ algorithms, access to data, content presentation, and payment for content.

The Draft Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill will create new competition rules for digital markets and the largest digital firms. The Government states that a main benefit of the legislation will be that ‘businesses across the economy that rely on very powerful tech firms […] are treated fairly and can succeed without having to comply with unfair terms.'

Firms with Strategic Market Status will face ‘legally enforceable rules and obligations to ensure they cannot abuse their dominant positions at the expense of consumers and other businesses’. The DMU will ‘impose interventions to inject competition into the market, including obligations on tech firms to report new mergers and give consumers more choice and control over their data.'

New regulations for subscription contracts will also be included in the Bill, and you can read about the Government’s latest update on the plans here. The PPA is working with members to ensure that the regulations are not unduly burdensome and reflect publishers’ business models.

Following a consultation which the PPA responded to, the Government also set out its plans for a Data Reform Bill, committing to create a ‘world class data rights regime that will allow us to create a new pro-growth and trusted UK data protection framework that reduces burdens on businesses’. This includes the building of a ‘data protection framework that is focused on privacy outcomes rather than box-ticking.'

Also announced in the Speech was a Media Bill, including provisions to repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which will be critical in preserving freedom of the press.

The PPA will continue to work with Government, parliamentarians, and regulators to ensure that the DMU regime will create tangible benefits for specialist publishers, ultimately benefiting UK consumers by ensuring that creators of trusted content can build sustainable business models in the digital age.

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