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Bill changes to provide for online-safety chief
Minister Catherine Martin at the launch of the bill Pic: RollingNews.ie

11 Jul 2022 / legislation Print

Bill changes to provide for online-safety chief

The Government has tabled a number of amendments to a bill on online safety and media regulation, in response to issues raised during its committee stage in the Seanad.

The proposed changes include three amendments that give effect to a commitment made by Catherine Martin (Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, pictured) to explicitly provide for the role of Online Safety Commissioner.

Her department said that the effect of these amendments was to require that at least one of the commissioners within the regulator created by the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill would be designated as an Online Safety Commissioner.

The minister said that the role of Online Safety Commissioner would be a key post within the commission, and would have primary responsibility for enforcing the regulatory framework for online safety set down by the bill.

Functions and powers

The commissioner will operate as part of a media watchdog that will be responsible for overseeing updated broadcasting legislation, as well as video on-demand services, and the new regulatory framework for online safety.

Minister Martin is tabling a total of 62 amendments at the report stage of the bill in the Seanad.

Some of these will clarify the new body’s functions and powers. It must:

  • Have regard to the linguistic and socio-economic diversity of the people of the island of Ireland when carrying out its functions in relation to broadcasting services and video on-demand services,
  • Bear in mind the participation and representation of the people of the island of Ireland on broadcasting and video on-demand services,
  • Promote and encourage the use of the Irish language by communications media, and
  • Have regard to matters relating to child safety, and to the regulation of gambling, and to the policies of Government and relevant ministers and public bodies in that regard.

Other amendments will clear up issues linked to data-sharing and governance.

Gazette Desk
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