Ofcom chief boss Dame Melanie Dawes has said there would be “real value” in the media and telecoms watchdog regulating Netflix.
In an exclusive interview with Channel 4 News, Dawes discusses the controversy surrounding the screening of a Jimmy Carr special in which the comedian made a joke about the Holocaust.
In response to whether Ofcom should regulate the US streaming giant, Dawes said: “I can certainly see that there’ll be real value in that. Yes. And so, we would welcome any chance to work on that.”
She added: “I can really understand why a lot of people found that very offensive and as you say, we don’t regulate Netflix at the moment, they’re underneath the Dutch regulator.”
“And I think that is a concern because it means that for viewers, it’s really confusing that they’ve got different standards applied, for example, to Channel 4 News than they have to YouTube and other services, including Netflix, that come streamed onto our TVs.”
In response to comments at the weekend from Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries, that Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, could in theory end up in jail if they don’t comply with new online safety laws, she said:
“Fear isn’t always what really makes a difference. I’d like to talk to Mark Zuckerberg, I haven’t met him. It’d be good to hear from him about what he thinks about these issues. But you know, we’ll have to see what sort of penalties the government introduces in the bill.
“I want to make them accountable, really for the first time, and to increase transparency across the industry. So that the public have got a much better sense of what’s going on and how things are getting better.”
The Ofcom chief also weighed in the Joe Rogan and Spotify row emphasising the importance of free speech, but also acknowledging that rules need to be followed on platforms, and they should be held accountable against them.
Finally, on the contentious subject of the BBC licence fee, Dawes explained that Ofcom are currently reviewing its regulatory watch over the BBC and the most important thing moving forward is reaching more audiences.
This is something she believed would be key in any funding discussions for the broadcaster.
The full interview is set to be aired tonight at 7pm on Channel 4.