Following a detailed proposal from the Interdepartmental Group on the Security of Ireland’s Electoral Process and Disinformation, the Government agreed on 5 November 2019 that my Department would prepare the General Scheme of a Bill which would provide for the display of specified information in respect of the use of paid political advertising in online media during electoral periods. It is anticipated that a draft General Scheme will be available by the end of the second quarter in 2020.
The proposal from the Interdepartmental Group was developed having regard to submissions received during a public consultation held in the autumn of 2018 and the holding of an open policy forum on the regulation of transparency of online political advertising which was held on 6 December 2018. The two reports from the Interdepartmental Group, the submissions from the public consultation and a report on the forum's deliberations are available at the following link:
In summary, the proposal, as set out in the Interdepartmental Group’s most recent progress report (November 2019), provides that the legislation will apply to online platforms, as sellers or intermediaries of political advertising, and to the buyers of political adverts. It is envisaged that an obligation will be placed on sellers to determine that adverts fall under the scope of the legislation. Online paid-for political advertisements commissioned for use during electoral periods will be required to be labelled as such and clearly display specified information, or a link to that information, in a transparent and conspicuous manner.