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12th Jan 2022

Government to consider new bill around issue of harmful online content

Katy Brennan

It will be considered by the Cabinet on Wednesday.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts and Media Catherine Martin is to seek Government approval to publish a new bill regarding harmful content online.

If approved, The Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill will establish a new media commission, and an Online Safety Commissioner will be appointed.

The Commissioner will draw up a set of rules on how social media should deal with dangerous content and oversee updated regulations for broadcasting and streaming services.

Harmful content includes criminal material, cyber-bullying, and content promoting self-harm, suicide and eating disorders.

The Commissioner will also have the power to appoint authorised officers to conduct investigations, as well as impose financial sanctions in the event of a failure to follow an online safety code.

Cabinet is expected to agree at a meeting on Wednsesday to begin the recruitment process for the Commissioner.

The Media Commission would take on the current functions of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and regulate both television and radio broadcasters. It has the potential to be one of the most powerful regulators in the State.

The bill underwent pre-legislative scrutiny last year. The Oireachtas committee publishing a report on it in November making several recommendations – including a legal minimum age requirement for setting up a social media account.

Main Image Credit: Leah Farrell/