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International regulators come together to discuss online safety on a global scale

Published: 13 September 2023
Last updated: 13 September 2023

This week Ofcom hosted the first annual meeting of the Global Online Safety Regulators Network (GOSRN), which brings together regulators from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific to discuss solutions to global online safety challenges.

GOSRN is a collaboration between the first movers in online safety regulation. The network paves the way for a joined-up international approach to online safety regulation, by enabling regulators to share insights, experience and best practice.

The meeting brought together all the network’s members, including the eSafety Commissioner (Australia); Coimisiún na Meán (Ireland); the Film and Publication Board (South Africa); the Korea Communications Standards Commission (Republic of Korea); the Online Safety Commission (Fiji); and Ofcom (UK).

Members reflected on progress made in the first year of the network’s existence and discussed ways in which online safety regulators can further enhance collaboration in the year to come. The meeting served as the launchpad for several important regulatory initiatives that the network has been developing during its first year.

Welcoming new members

During the session, the network officially welcomed its new South African and Korean members, and formally launched a new Technology Working Group. The working group aims to enhance technical and research insights and capacity among international regulators, and its focus will initially be on technical solutions to protect children online and how to manage the safety challenges of generative AI. The network also issued its first position statement, with members affirming their commitment to a human rights-centred approach to online safety regulation.

For Ofcom, a key value of the network is the role it plays in enabling greater global coordination around online safety regulatory toolboxes – a win-win for regulators and regulated companies alike.

Gill Whitehead, Ofcom’s group director for online safety, commented at the meeting: “the risks people face online don’t respect national borders. So it’s critical that regulators across the world have a dedicated forum to share experience, expertise and evidence as we collectively strive for a safer life online."

Work will continue to deliver on the network’s 2023 work plan and to bring more online safety regulators on board. Network members agreed to appoint Ofcom as Chair of the Network for 2024, and our preparations to take on that important responsibility on behalf of the community of global online safety regulators start now.

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