New bill to regulate broadcasters and online streaming services

A new body to regulate broadcasters and online streaming services and a new office for Internet Security Supervision are among the features of a new bill to be approved by Cabinet on Wednesday.

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Catherine Martin, will ask her ministerial colleagues to approve the text of the bill on online security and media regulation, a gigantic bill of almost 150 pages.

It will replace the Irish Broadcasting Authority – which currently regulates radio and television broadcasters – with a new Media Commission which will also be responsible for regulating streaming services such as Netflix.

The bill will also give the new commission the power to impose a tax on streaming services.

A new online security commissioner will be responsible for policing how social media sites deal with harmful content on their scheduled services. The new commissioner will develop online safety codes and have the power to impose fines of up to € 20 million or 10 percent of turnover on social media services that do not comply with the codes. It is expected that the new commissioner will be recruited in the coming months, and be in place before Bill has completed its stint through the Oireachtas later this year.

Review process

Sources said most of the recommendations of the Oireachtas committee which embarked on an extensive pre-legislative review process of the bill last year would now be included in legislation, either as part of the text released on Wednesday or by through amendments to be submitted to the committee. Stage.

The TDs and senators on the committee have called for a significant toughening of the legislation after months of deliberation despite opposition from tech companies.

Campaigners have long sought to hold social media companies accountable for harmful content on their services and how services can target vulnerable people with such content, either through their own algorithms or by targeting other users.

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