The Government has agreed to amend legislation on online safety and media regulation in order to widen the scope of the new regulator set up under the bill.
Coimisiún na Meán is to be designated as a competent authority under the EU Terrorist Content Online Regulation.
As a result, the Government has agreed to draft the necessary legislation, to be provided for by way of amendment to the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill, after its enactment.
The responsibilities of Coimisiún na Meán will include overseeing the implementation of specific measures to be taken by service providers found to have hosted terrorist content, and the potential imposition of administrative fines – including financial penalties up to 4% of global turnover – for infringements of the EU rule.
Under the EU regulation, service providers have just one hour to take down any offending material once a removal order is issued.
“Tackling the dissemination of terrorist content online, such as calls to recruitment, bomb-making instructions, or hostage-execution videos, is an important part of ensuring the safety and security of the State,” said Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.
She added, however, that a “well-resourced” regulator was needed, to ensure that the new regime was properly overseen, and infringements sanctioned.
Overlap of powers
Catherine Martin (Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media, pictured) backed the decision, saying that it made sense, given the overlap of investigation and enforcement powers contained in the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill.
The bill is currently before the Oireachtas, and Minister Martin said that she was committed to having it enacted by the end of the year.
The Government says that the proposed legislation already provides Coimisiún na Meán with the necessary investigatory and enforcement powers.