THE News Media Association has welcomed Ofcom’s draft guidance for video sharing platforms which upholds press freedom by expressly excluding news media from the scope of the audio-visual media services regime.

Welcoming the guidance in a response to Ofcom’s consultation on the regulations, the NMA welcomed the clarification that newspapers remain outside of the scope of the regime which will require video sharing platforms to formally notify Ofcom of their services.

But, the NMA added, Ofcom’s oversight must be carefully framed to avoid bringing online newspapers and their content, whether on newspapers’ own websites or on third party platforms, into scope of the new regulations.

The NMA said: “The dominance of the tech companies in search engines and social media means that they now play a very significant and unavoidable role in the dissemination of news publishers’ trusted content online and the audience which it attracts – as well as the advertising revenue which funds that trusted journalism.

“Therefore, it is also vital that Ofcom’s enforcement of the regime does not put news publishers and their trusted, lawful, code-compliant, video journalistic content, at risk of refusal, restriction or exploitation by video sharing platforms, due to the new requirements imposed upon VSPs by the AVMS Regulations and implementing legislation. Any risk of doing so would be very damaging to news publishers’ business models.”

In the submission, the NMA highlighted certain areas which could “benefit from further clarity” such as ensuring that advertising content and the self-regulatory status of the ASA and CAP Code remain outside of the scope of the regime. Live streamed online news content generated by the publisher should not fall within scope, the NMA added, but it would be useful for this example to be set out in the final guidelines for the avoidance of doubt.