Thursday, 27 June 2019

Questions (222)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

222. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps he is taking to protect children online; when major proposals for reform and legislation will be introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27298/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

In early March, I announced that Government would address harmful online content through the development of new legislation, an Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill, which will also transpose the revised Audio Visual Media Services Directive. I launched a public consultation on these proposals which concluded in April.

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. In total, 84 submissions have been received and these were published today on my Department's website. We are currently examining the issues raised to inform the development of this new legislation.