Thursday, 4 July 2019

Questions (50)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

50. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the timeline for the introduction of legislation for a digital safety commissioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28528/19]

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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 & Media Regulation Bill, which will also transpose the revised Audio Visual Media Services Directive. I launched a public consultation on these proposals which has now concluded. 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 in relation to online content, especially in respect of children. It will provide for regulatory oversight of these measures through the establishment of a strong and robust Online Safety Commissioner. In preparing this Bill, I am conscious of the need to ensure an appropriate balance of fundamental rights including freedom of expression.

I want to thank all those who contributed to the public consultation on the legislative proposals, including NGOs, industry players, experts and member of the public. In total, 84 submissions have been received and these were published on 27 June on my Department's website. They have raised a number of complex policy and legal issues which we are currently examining and which will inform the development of the legislation. I am determined to advance the legislation at the earliest possible date.