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BAI proposes new statutory regulation of online content

24 Jun 2019 / REGULATION Print

BAI proposes new statutory regulation of online content

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has today (24 July) proposed the introduction of new statutory regulation for online videos and harmful online content.

The BAI’s proposals are contained in its submission to the Government’s Public Consultation on the Regulation of Harmful Content and the implementation of the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS). All EU Member States are required to transpose the provisions of the AVMS Directive into law by September 2020.

The BAI is of the view that regulation of online content can be most effectively accomplished through the introduction of a single, comprehensive regulatory scheme and regulator. This would provide an opportunity to develop a vision for the future regulation of media content across all platforms.

Main headings

The BAI’s submission falls under four main headings:

  • Removal notices – the submission advocates for regulatory powers to rectify online harm by issuing ‘harmful online content removal notices’ on behalf of Irish residents directly affected by harmful content.
  • Regulation of video sharing platforms – it is acknowledged that most of Europe’s largest providers such as YouTube and Facebook are based here in Ireland, and will be regulated in this country. The BAI proposes that video-sharing platforms should be directly regulated by a statutory regulator, and that the directive’s rules should be implemented through legislation and statutory codes. The BAI also suggests a robust and transparent complaints system and an independent appeals mechanism as part of that regulatory framework. 

Regulation of on-demand services – the BAI recognises the changing consumption patterns among Irish audiences, noting that the use of on-demand services in Ireland continues to increase, with over 50% of Irish adults now regularly accessing videos through these platforms. The BAI submits that the most appropriate means of introducing the revised AVMS Directive new rules for on-demand services is through statutory regulation and codes, and to assign the role of overseeing on-demand services to the statutory regulator

  • Regulation of linear television broadcasting – the significance of broadcasting to the Irish State and its culture justifies the continued regulation and oversight of these services in the current manner, except to the extent that the changes should be made pursuant to the transposition of the revised directive. 

Unique opportunity

Commenting on the submission, chairperson of the BAI Professor Pauric Travers says: “There is general agreement that the regulatory framework has not kept pace with the convergence of television and internet.

“This is a particularly important issue for this country, given that many of the major international platforms are based here. Ireland has a unique opportunity – and responsibility – to lead the debate and chart the way forward in relation to online safety and regulation.”    

View a summary and copy of the BAI submission

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