Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (503)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

503. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to introduce legislation to provide independent oversight of the social media sector to ensure that it operates its policies to remove content from social media in a fair and equitable manner and to provide a mechanism for persons to appeal its censorship decisions to a State agency that would be independent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22082/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

In early March, I announced that Government would address harmful content through the development of new legislation, an Online Safety & Media Regulation Bill, which will also transpose the revised Audio Visual Media Services Directive. I launched a public consultation on these proposals which concluded last month. This Bill will establish, for the first time, a clear expectation for online platforms to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their users, especially children. It will provide for regulatory oversight of these measures by a robustly empowered Online Safety Commissioner. In preparing this legislation, I am conscious of the need to ensure an appropriate balance of the rights of relevant stakeholders, including freedom of expression.

I want to thank all those who contributed to the consultation, including NGOs, industry players, experts and member of the public, and to note that these contributions will be published in the coming weeks. We are currently examining the issues raised and suggestions made to inform the development of this new legislation.