This meeting has been convened in the context of the committee's continued pre-legislative scrutiny of the general scheme of the online safety and media regulation Bill.
I welcome the following witnesses to the meeting, who will be joining the meeting in committee room 3 remotely via Microsoft Teams: Mr. Ronan Lupton, barrister-at-law; Ms Una Fitzpatrick, director of Technology Ireland; and Dr. Pierre François Docquir, head of media freedom at Article 19.
The format of the meeting is such that I will invite witnesses to make opening statements, which will be followed by questions from members of the committee. As the witnesses are aware, the committee may publish the opening statements on its website following the meeting.
Before I invite the witnesses to make their opening statements, which are limited to three minutes for each organisation or witness attending, I wish to advise them of the following in relation to parliamentary privilege. Witnesses are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice that they should not criticise or make charges against any person or entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable, or otherwise engage in speech that might be regarded as damaging to the good name of the person or entity. Therefore, if their statements are potentially defamatory in respect of an identifiable person or entity, they will be directed to discontinue their remarks. It is imperative that they comply with any such direction. As the witnesses are attending remotely from outside the Leinster House campus, I ask them to note that there are some limitations to parliamentary privilege and as such, they may not benefit from the same level of immunity from legal proceedings as a witness who is physically present does. Witnesses participating in this committee session from a jurisdiction outside of the State are advised that they should also be mindful of their domestic law and how it may apply to the evidence they give.
Members are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the Houses or an official either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable. I remind members of the constitutional requirement that they must be physically present within the confines of the place which Parliament has chosen to sit, namely, Leinster House or the Convention Centre Dublin or both, in order to participate in the public meeting. I will not permit a member to attend if he or she is not adhering to the constitutional requirements. Therefore, any member who attempts to attend from outside the parliamentary precincts will be asked to leave the meeting. I also ask members to identify themselves when contributing for the benefit of the Debates Office staff who are preparing the Official Report. Microphones must be muted when not contributing to reduce background noise and feedback. I ask members and witnesses to use the raise-your-hand function on their screen if they want to contribute. I remind those participating in the meeting to ensure their mobile telephones are on silent mode or switched off.
That concludes the housekeeping. I hope it is clear. I invite the first witness, Mr. Ronan Lupton, to address the committee.