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Information Commissioner among speakers at Society of Editors' annual conference 2019

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham will speak alongside national newspaper editors at the Society of Editors’ annual conference this year.

Denham has sought to assure publishers this week that her proposed new “age-appropriate” internet code, which seeks to impose new online safeguards for children, will not affect news websites.

The code will force websites to apply child-friendly data protections as default or use “robust” age-checking tools.

The society has warned it could do “untold harm” to media companies who will be forced either to put up a barrier to online news content or stop collecting data vital to advertising revenue.

Denham said in a blog post:“We do not want to prevent young people from engaging with the world around them, and we’ve been quick to respond to concerns that our code would affect news websites. This isn’t the case.

“As we told a DCMS Select Committee in July, we do not want to create any barriers to children accessing news content. The news media plays a fundamental role in children’s lives and the final version of the code will make that very clear.”

That final version of the code will be delivered to the Government ahead of the 23 November deadline, she said.

The society’s annual conference will take place at Stationers’ Hall, central London, on November 12 this year. To mark its 20th anniversary the theme will be “defending media freedom”.

Also confirmed as taking part are Mail On Sunday editor Ted Verity, Daily Telegraph editor Chris Evans and Daily Mirror editor Alison Phillips.

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, said: “I’m delighted that some of the strongest voices in the industry will be joining us in November to give us their thoughts on the challenges facing the UK media as we approach the end of what has been a tumultuous year for news and challenges to the press.”

The society has also announced that the Regional Press Awards will take place on 5 June next year.

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