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MPs and peers call for PSB content protection

Group has sent letter to culture secretary urging him to stand up to the streaming giants

A cross-party group of British MPs and peers has written to culture secretary Jeremy Wright urging him to protect content from public service broadcasters on streaming services and pay-TV companies.

The group, which includes deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, Liberal Democrat baroness Jane Bonham-Carter and the Scottish National Party’s Hannah Bardell, argue that if the government is willing to stand up to the tech giants over tax then it also needs to act to protect Britain’s public service broadcasters.

According to The Guardian, the letter said: “The digital revolution has brought greater flexibility and choice but if we are not careful the enormous power of the global internet giants is going to sweep traditional PSB television away.”

“From smart TVs that have a ‘Netflix’ button on the remote control, to on-demand sections where PSB apps are nowhere to be seen, or algorithms that only throw up pay-TV programming, PSBs are being pushed out of online TV portals,” the letter said.

“If we value the unique cultural offering these PSBs have given us over the last 82 years then we must act to ensure that whether viewers are selecting what to watch through traditional TV programme guides, or on-demand guides or online, the PSBs are given proper priority.” 

“The new legislation that is clearly necessary to protect PSBs will need to be given parliamentary time, something that is in the gift of your government. We ask you to commit to doing so,” the letter stated.