Today was a big win!
The Cabinet Office has announced that political parties and campaigning organisations will soon be required to include digital imprints on all online campaign material.
Fair Vote UK and the APPG on Electoral Campaigning Transparency that we secretariat welcome this reform. Digital imprints were a central recommendation of the report – Defending our Democracy in the Digital Age – that we jointly published in January.
The imprints will show who produced the material and, importantly, who paid for it. The rules will also apply for the entire year and not just during election periods. This is a particularly encouraging detail as we now live in an age of permanent campaigning and the rules should be updated to reflect this reality.
Fair Vote UK and the APPG on Electoral Campaigning Transparency will now seek assurances from the Cabinet Office that the new rules will require the imprints to be clearly visible and actually on the image or video that is being promoted.
This reform must be the first step in a bold updating of the UK’s electoral law, which has not been changed in nearly 20 years.
The Electoral Commission must also be strengthened by Parliament so it can properly ensure that these regulations are adhered to.
Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK said: “This reform is a boost for democracy. It will put power in the hands of the voter and allow all of us to make better informed decisions. This is not a moment for rest though. Fair Vote UK will continue to push for the other 19 recommendations in our report and an electoral regime that has transparency and fairness at its core.”
Stephen Kinnock MP, Chair of the APPG said: “This is a welcome and common sense proposal that would bring online campaigning rules in line with the regulation that already exists for print, TV and radio material. Mandatory digital imprints was just one of 20 recommendations in our APPG’s report Defending our Democracy in the Digital Age, published in January 2020. It will greatly increase transparency and lead to a better informed public and a better quality of public debate. Yet, as our report shows, there is much more that needs to be done. The Government should seize the opportunity to modernise the rules and create a democracy fit for the digital age.”