Rishi Sunak pledges that she will control the tech giants, and preserve free speech.

  • Sunak promised to promote Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill 
  • Bill wants to stop big tech companies exploiting customers and competitors.
  • Former Chancellor said that he plans to abolish laws that’stifle freedom of speech’ 

Rishi Sunak pledged to introduce key legislation that will rein in big tech companies’ power and help protect the digital economy.

Yesterday, the Tory leader contender pledged to give this fall’s draft Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumer Bill priority in Parliament.

To stop search engines worldwide and social media platforms exploiting rivals and consumers, the Bill contains tough provisions.

The Digital Markets Unit will be empowered by the new legislation. This watchdog was created to combat the dominant role of tech companies in the digital advertising sector. Sunak indicated that the measures would be taken to make sure tech firms pay fair prices to news publications for their content.

A Tory manifesto promise to end Section 40 of 2013’s Crime and Courts Act was also made by the former chancellor. He said that it aims to ‘coerce the Press and silence free speech’.

Conservative Party Leadership Candidate Rishi Sunak leaves Ealing TV Studios in west London after attending a TV debate, July 26

Conservative Party Leader Candidate Rishi Sunak departs Ealing TV Studios, west London, after participating in a TV Debate on July 26

He said the Act, which would force newspapers to pay legal costs in defamation and privacy cases for both sides no matter the outcome – unless they agree to join a state-sponsored regulator – will be taken off the statute books ‘as a matter of urgency’ before the next election.

Yesterday’s letter from Mr Sunak to Owen Meredith (News Media Association), contained the pledges. Meredith represents national, regional, and local publishers.

According to the would-be prime Minister, he supports the newspaper industry’s vitality and acknowledges that its sustainability is not guaranteed.

He said: “I am in favor of the development and growth of the digital industry, but I believe that we can only have a vibrant digital economy in the UK if there are functioning markets.

“I confirm, therefore, that I would forward the promised digital market legislation this fall, which includes fair terms for publishers and platforms, should I be elected to lead and become prime minister of the Conservative Party.”

In May’s Queen’s Speech, the Government announced that the Bill would be introduced. The government stated it would work to improve protection of Britons from scams online, including subscription traps and fake reviews.

It will also empower the DMU to rein in the dominance of tech giants such as Google and Facebook – particularly in digital advertising, where it has a detrimental impact on high-quality journalism.

Sunak said he would implement legislation to empower the Digital Markets Unit to break the dominance of tech giants and prevent them from exploiting consumers and rivals

Sunak declared that he would pass legislation to allow the Digital Markets Unit and break the hold of tech giants to exploit consumers and their rivals.

Under the Bill, the DMU would be able to force online giants to comply with codes of conduct – on penalty of fines of up to 10 per cent of their global turnover.

Mr Sunak also committed to repealing Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 – a Conservative Party manifesto commitment in 2017 – ‘as a matter of urgency’. Under the measure, news publishers would be forced to pay both sides’ legal costs in defamation and privacy legal cases whether they win or lose in court – unless they sign up to a Press regulator backed by a royal charter.

The Tories stated previously that the law which was opposed by press freedom activists and Press groups, had undermined “the essential role local newspapers played in speaking truthfully to power”.

Although it is in the statute books, it has yet to be activated.

Plans for a Media Bill to repeal the law were contained in Queen’s Speech.

Sunak stated that it was vital to remove the measure, which seeks coerce Press and suppress free speech in advance of next general elections.