Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.55 24 Jun 2019


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Ireland could be the main regulator for videos on YouTube and Facebook under proposals to deal with harmful online content.

A new statutory regulation has been proposed by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) for online videos and harmful online content.

It has looked at it in a submission to the Government's public consultation on the issue.

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All EU member states are required to implement the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS) Directive into law by September 2020.

Th BAI says: "The implementation of the new directive and the proposals for a national framework for online safety provides an opportunity to develop a vision for the future regulation of online media".

In its submission, the BAI says the introduction of new regulation can "be most effectively accomplished through the introduction of a single, comprehensive regulatory scheme and regulator."

"The regulator should have regard to the wider objectives of content and services that serve citizens - ensuring diversity and plurality, the promotion of freedom of expression, sustaining and enhancing democratic discourse and facilitating linguistic and cultural diversity."

'Content removal notices'

The BAI recommends the introduction of 'harmful online content removal notices' on behalf of Irish residents directly affected by harmful content.

In the longer term, it sees the development and enforcement of an online safety code - applicable to Irish online service providers in order to minimise harms.

It also notes that most of Europe's largest providers of video-sharing platform services, such as YouTube and Facebook, are based in in Ireland and will be regulated here for their European activities.

The BAI says video-sharing platforms should be "directly regulated by a statutory regulator" and the directive's rules should be implemented through legislation and statutory codes.

harmful online content Facebook's European headquarters in Dublin | Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

The submission also welcomes a greater degree of regulatory consistency between on-demand services and linear broadcasting services.

It says 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 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."


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Bai Broadcasting Authority Of Ireland Facebook Harmful Content Harmful Online Content Online Videos Professor Pauric Travers Youtube

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