The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) establishes the framework for the regulation of audiovisual media services in the European Union. The current Directive applies to linear broadcasting services - i.e. traditional television, and in a limited way to non-linear services, i.e. on-demand services such as the RTÉ Player. The Broadcasting Act 2009 established the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland as the independent regulator for linear broadcasting services, both television and radio in Ireland. On-demand services are currently subject to a co-regulatory Code of Conduct overseen by the On-Demand Audiovisual Services Group (ODAS), which was established under the auspices of IBEC. The Code of Conduct applies to all on-demand audiovisual service providers operating in the state and provides for a complaints mechanism in relation to content on on-demand services.
In terms of the Code’s operation, the BAI’s only role is that its statutory Compliance Committee acts as an appeals body, where a complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the on-demand service provider, on complaints relating to content. In this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding is in place between the BAI’s Compliance Committee and ODAS. The BAI does not have a role in relation to any complaints appeals in respect of commercial communications. This appeals function is carried out by the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI).
In May 2016, the European Commission published its proposal to revise the AVMSD. The text of the revised Directive has been adopted by the EU and was officially published on 27 November 2018. The revision of the AVMSD will require an increase in the level of oversight by Member States of on-demand audiovisual media services. In early March, I announced that Government would address harmful online content through the development of new legislation, an Online Safety & Media Regulation Bill, which will also transpose the revised AVMSD. I launched a public consultation on these proposals which concluded last month. The submissions received in respect of this consultation have been published on my Department's website and will inform the preparation of legislation, including in respect of on-demand services.