In June, the Liberal Democrats and Tories joined forces in support of an unbelievably unjust report “on common standards and procedures for the return of third country nationals residing illegally”.
European Labour MEPs, tried to amend the report to prevent unaccompanied children from being deported, unless their family or guardian was able to look after them when they were returned to their home country. There were obviously concerns that if unaccompanied minors were deported, alone, without any supervision, they could fall victim to paedophiles or child slavery or any of the other myriad of dangers that we know could occur.
Almost all Tory and Lib Dem MEPs voted against this specific amendment.
The UK opts out of EU wide immigration legislation preferring to create its own national legislation. Here at the European Parliament, protocol dictates that when a report does not affect their country MEPs can vote on individual amendments but should abstain from voting on the whole report, passing it into legislation. That was exactly what both Labour and Tory MEPs did.
Lib Dem MEPs, however, threw protocol to the wind and voted in favour of the whole report. They backed a raft of draconian measures, including deporting children, with little concern for their welfare after they had been deported.
As I have said before, with such a hard-right agenda it is difficult to see where the word ‘liberal’ fits into Liberal Democrat. Mind you, when Lib Dems vote for directives such as this one it’s hard to see them as true ‘democrats’ either.
Yesterday the Government signalled its support for a new set of standards for internet content. This is welcome.
The way people consume television is changing rapidly. Just this week Apple announced their new iPhone which will make it even easier to watch video on the move.
I am only too aware of how difficult it is to regulate a fast evolving market. Last year I worked on the EU’s so called ‘Audiovisual Media Services Directive’ which covers broadcasting laws across the EU. We looked at a number of issues surrounding child protection. How can parents keep an eye on what children are watching when they are carrying around their own video player?
When we watch traditional broadcast television we have come to expect certain levels of protection, particularly before the watershed. Such expectations don’t necessarily exist on the internet or when watching streamed television. New codes of conduct from mobile operators are clearly necessary. I recently spoke to T-Mobile about some of the work their are doing on their ‘Contect Lock’
You may be interested to read this article in The Guardian which explains some of the issues:
According to a recent report from Ofcom, a quarter of 8-11 year olds who are online in the UK have a profile on a social network
Earlier this week the European Parliament Culture and Education Committee referred to media literacy amongst young people in a discussion of new media technologies such as mobile TV. Technology is moving fast and could have enormous educational benefits.
I have always taken an interest in the advancement of new technologies, particularly with regard to how we can protect children from associated dangers. I will be keeping a close eye on the Parliament’s discussions on the regulation of such new technologies, being careful to protect young people without generating fear about their use.
I would be very interested to hear whether you think mobile TV could replace Facebook as the next technological fad or will it flop? Please contact me with your response.