I don't know what the collective term is for Youtube channels, infomercials, newstainment, multi-channel infotainment, e-pinion and the like - 'digital' is too encompassing, 'media' too finely drawn. 'Content' seems to be a useful portmanteau sort of word. There used to be certain checks and standards for those who created and disseminated Content. Newspaper and magazine ownership and distribution, broadcasting bandwidth governance and licencing, professional journalists, barriers to entry including technical complexity, equipment cost and limited capacity. Making a video use to be a matter of a camera, lighting and sound crew, an offline editor, an online editor and a facility with half a million quids worth of Beta SP machines, editing suites, reference monitors and so on. Then came processing power, software and easy GUIs that meant a video recorded and edited on an Apple laptop could rival in look and feel one costing £2k a broadcast minute to make.
Regulation has yet to catch up with what has happened. If I want to broadcast a three minute speech, I need a government licence for a digital broadcast radio channel, a transmitter, and a roomful of compliance and diligence stuff and every breath I broadcast is subject to the most minute scrutiny. If I put the same speech on the web as a podcast, there are no restrictions, no standards and no regulation whatsoever bar the criminal law. One can argue that broadcast bandwidth, for the 'push' media, is a limited and valuable resource that must be centrally controlled and rationed, whilst internet bandwidth, for the 'pull' media, is effectively unlimited and use is determined by market forces, i.e. popularity.
Why should these differences be a problem? Can't we live with the way things are? well, perhaps today we can - but technology and economics mean the boundaries between the transmission mechanisms of exactly the same Content are being increasingly blurred. Established broadcasters want to regulate the Wild West of the internet to replicate the analogue regimes under which they toil. Authoritarians strive to impose their own bigotry. And all the while champions of free speech, Libertarians and democrats are resisting State control, censorship and the economic cudgels of the global corporates all seeking to 'own' the internet.
Personally, I don't buy the guff that the internet is 'harming millions'. The few sensitive souls getting the vapours because someone was rude to them on Facebook seem the same sort of folks who used to swoon at the sight of a nipple on 'Play for Today'. Yet I also want to take-down ISIS videos of lads from East Ham hacking-off people's heads, sick paedo filth or grainy footage of dogs tearing eachother to pieces. These views are not inconsistent; the latter repulsive Content types are all contrary to existing law. We don't need new laws - we just need a mechanism for we, internet users, to apply the existing law. We don't need need nine-hundred police officers crouched over glowing screens - we need ways in which we, Peel's citizen police, can act ourselves to exclude the already-illegal stuff whilst leaving the hurty words intact.