Social Media: Offensive Material

Debate between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Baroness Barran
Tuesday 23rd March 2021

(3 years, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble Baroness is right: what is illegal offline should be illegal online, and it is very clear that the social media companies should remove that content. Where there is harmful but legal content, they need to have very clear systems and processes to make sure that it can be removed quickly.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
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My Lords, this is not just a problem for famous people. If anything, it is a much more serious problem for members of the public. For example, mothers campaigning in Scotland to get schools reopened last year were attacked by anonymous cybernats and their children were threatened via direct messages on Twitter. Twitter is a real problem here, but there is a very simple solution, which is for Twitter or the Government to ban anonymous accounts. That would stop the abuse, it would ensure that anybody who tries to be abusive or threatening can be prosecuted and it would be a simple measure for those running Twitter, given the scale of their operation now, to introduce. Will the Government call them in, insist on it and, if they will not do it themselves, do it for them?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble Lord is right to raise the issue of the general public and the troubling example that he just shared with the House. However, banning anonymous accounts is not as simple as he suggests. They provide important protection for a wide range of vulnerable people, as well as journalists’ sources and others—so these are complex issues that we aim to address through the Bill.

Covid-19: Cultural and Creative Industries

Debate between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Baroness Barran
Monday 26th October 2020

(3 years, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble and gallant Lord makes an important point. Our approach through the Cultural Recovery Fund has been to try to support the cultural ecosystem. Enabling those institutions to remain viable in turn supports jobs, including those of the musicians who work within them.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
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One of the best ways to help those working in the creative industries—whether self-employed or otherwise—would be to allow them access to paying customers. We are still far behind many other European nations in providing safe access, based on safe design, for people to attend sporting and cultural events. Surely there is now an opportunity for the Government—in advance of the winter, when so many families will be feeling so much pressure from being locked down and under other restrictions—to create a proper plan to reopen our cultural and sporting venues nationally and locally, with limited, safe access. This would ensure that families could go out and enjoy themselves without going into other spaces or staying at home and becoming clinically depressed.

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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The noble Lord is right that culture and the arts play an important part in our mental health and sense of well-being. That is why we have worked so hard with the sector, providing guidance on reopening; we are now permitting indoor performances with socially distanced audiences. We continue to look at a variety of ways, including wider use of testing and better ventilation so that we can achieve exactly what the noble Lord hopes for.

Covid-19: Sports

Debate between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Baroness Barran
Wednesday 13th May 2020

(4 years, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
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I will need to write to the noble Baroness about the specifics of what engagement there has been with elite dance. Our clear aim is to set out a series of principles that will allow a return to safe training for all those engaged in elite and grass-roots sports.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
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I should record my interest in the Lords’ register in relation to Scottish Athletics and the Commonwealth Games (Scotland) Endowment Fund. I would like to ask the Minister about those Scottish, Welsh, English and Northern Irish athletes either training or based in the different nations who are on UK performance funding. Will full discussions be held with the devolved Governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that all UK high-performance athletes have the same access to a return to coaching, medical facilities and training, although obviously in conditions of safe social distancing, over the coming weeks?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran
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My honourable friend the Minister for Sport is co-ordinating those conversations but, again, I will raise the importance of this issue with him.