On 17 October 2012, the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD), which is the independent co-regulator for the editorial content of VOD services in UK, published its submissions to the consultation by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety on parental controls and to the call for evidence from the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications on media convergence and its public policy impact.
In the submissions, ATVOD presented its role and activities, especially concerning protection of minors, and expressed its position on issues relating to media convergence and regulation of content. ATVOD acknowledged the limitations of the current regulatory scheme, especially in relation to non-UK services, as well as the lack of effective parental controls.
With regard to media convergence, ATVOD considers that it is premature to attempt to put in place a rigid new regulatory structure. Public policy should rather focus on clearly identified areas of public concern, including the ease with which children can access hardcore pornography and other potentially harmful content online.
ATVOD takes the view that parental controls and media education are part of the solution, but their efficacy should not be overstated. The public policy response should involve more active enforcement of existing legislation, such as the Obscene Publications Act.