This conference discussed next steps for online safety and media regulation in Ireland.
It was a timely opportunity to examine key issues and concerns, and the way forward for implementation of the Online Safety and Media Regulation (OSMR) Act, which amends the Broadcasting Act 2009 and provides a major overhaul of media and content regulation in Ireland.
Stakeholders and policymakers considered key priorities for platforms in tackling and removing harmful content, including the role of platforms in policing content, the impact of legislation, implications for the tech industry, and options for safeguarding children online.
Attendees also discussed priorities for Coimisiún na Meán, the new media Commission currently tasked with regulating online and broadcast media in Ireland, the shape and scope of binding new safety codes, the extent of their powers, and priorities for enforcement.
We are pleased to have been able to include keynote sessions with: Niamh Hodnett, Online Safety Commissioner, Coimisiún na Meán; Una Fitzpatrick, Director, Technology Ireland; Ronan Lupton, Senior Counsel, Bar of Ireland; and Chair, ALTO; John Church, Chief Executive Officer, ISPCC; Anna Herold, Head of Unit, Audiovisual and Media Policy, European Commission; Carlos Aguilar Paredes, Vice Chair, ERGA; and Kerryann Walsh, Professor, School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice, Queensland University of Technology.
Further sessions looked at areas of best practice in online safety and media regulation, as well as priorities for transposing the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) into Irish law.
Delegates assessed development of an individual complaints mechanism for reporting online harms and the issues around this, including who will be responsible for the mechanism, how the complaints process will function, and appropriate sanctions for non-compliance.
Overall, sessions in the agenda included discussion on:
- legislation: assessing impact - enhancing accountability - priorities for providing safe online spaces - protecting consumer rights
- Coimisiún na Meán: developing a new regulatory framework - online safety codes - engaging stakeholders in regulatory development
- stakeholder perspectives: understanding new obligations - controlling and monitoring content - engaging consumers in online safety
- safeguarding children online:
- protection from harmful and inappropriate content - options for age restrictions
- addressing cyber-bullying and offensive content - engaging parents and guardians in online safety
- learning from best practice: reviewing international approaches to online safety - understanding what works - opportunities for knowledge sharing
- priorities for the tech industry: clarity on transposition of the AVMSD - accounting for implications of the new framework - options for flexibility and further development of legislation and regulation
The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from the Coimisiún na Meán; DCEDIY; DCMS, UK; Department for Communities, NI; DfE, UK; DSIT, UK; HMRC, UK; Home Office, UK; ICO, UK; Ofcom, UK; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government.