The Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022 (“the Act”) provides for the establishment of a new regulator with responsibility for the introduction and enforcement of a new regulatory framework for online safety.
The Media Commission or Coimuisún na Meán ("the Commission") assumed responsibility for this role on 15 March 2023 and have evidently been taking massive steps to discharge its statutory mandate.
In recent months, the Commission have expanded their workforce from 40 to 160 staff and have announced a Work Programme setting out the Commission's objectives for the year ahead together with publishing a notice on their website designating Video-Sharing Platform Services ("VSPS") as a category of relevant online services, the providers of which are under the jurisdiction of the State.
"Designation Decision Framework"
On 10 November 2023, the Commission published a "Designation Decision Framework" report which explains the assessment and decision-making process the Commission intends to follow when determining 1. Whether a service meets the definition of a VSPS as set out in the Broadcasting Act 2009, as amended, and 2. Whether the provider of the service is under the jurisdiction of the state.
The report, which was prepared by PA Consulting Group, provides a methodical and evidence-based approach that takes the reader through a series of steps and questions that could be used to support the decision-making process. The report refers to relevant legislation and references documentation from the EU Commission, EU Member States, and other regulators whilst also using data and metrics that could be used to inform assessment of whether there are indicators that support or refute the application of the criteria.
The release of this report is the next step in advance of the Commission issuing Online Safety Code(s). If a VSPS does fall within scope and jurisdiction, then it will fall under the remit of the binding Online Safety Code(s) and will be obliged to take appropriate and proportionate measures to protect users of their service from harmful content in accordance with Section 139K of the Broadcasting Act 2009, as amended. It is anticipated that the Online Safety Codes will be adopted by the Commission in Q4 of this year.
EU Digital Services Act
The EU Digital Services Act ("DSA") comes into full effect on 17 February 2024. As things stand, the DSA only applies to the 19 designated Very Large Online Platforms ("VLOP's) and Very Large Online Search Engines ("VLOSE's"). Notably, 13 out of 19 of those designated platforms have their European headquarters in Ireland meaning the Commission will have an active role in working with the EU Commission when enforcing the DSA.
You can view the "Designation Framework Report": Click Here
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