12 Aib 2021, 12.45

The Joint Committee on Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht will meet tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13, to commence Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill 2020.

The meeting at 3.30pm will be broadcast from Committee Room 2 of Leinster House and will hear from officials from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, who will brief Members on the Heads of the Bill.

The General Scheme of the Bill was published in December 2020 by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and consists of three general themes:

  • Parts 2 and 3: The establishment of the Media Commission and dissolution of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland;
  • Part 4: Online Safety; and
  • Parts 5 and 6: On-Demand Audiovisual Services and miscellaneous provisions regarding the transposition of the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

Committee Chair Deputy Niamh Smyth said: “The Committee has agreed to progress the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill 2020 as a priority. The Bill is designed to transpose the Audiovisual Directive into law and proposes the appointment of an Online Safety Commissioner as part of a wider Media Commission to oversee the new regulatory framework for online safety. It is proposed that the Commissioner will govern this new framework through binding online safety codes and robust compliance, enforcement and sanction powers to address the problems of harmful content and online communications.

“The Committee is convinced that urgent regulation is long overdue to protect young and vulnerable people from exposure to harmful content on social media platforms. This Bill is a welcome part of that process to counter the devastating effects of online bullying and abuse which is hurtful, cruel, painful and can lead to loss of life.

“As part of our scrutiny of the Heads of the Bill, we sought submissions from a range of experts in the areas of online safety, child protection, mental health, and media law and policy, as well as regulatory bodies and representatives of civic society. We also sought the views of key stakeholders, including representatives of the media industry, broadcasters, audio-visual producers, on-demand services, industry bodies and social media companies.

“The Committee has considered the submissions received and will now hold public hearings with stakeholders, beginning with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. Members look forward to engaging with the officials as part of our scrutiny of this important and far-reaching legislation.”

The Joint Committee on Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht has 14 Members, nine from the Dáil and five from the Seanad.

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Committee membership


Fine Gael


Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin

Niamh Smyth - Cathaoirleach

Fianna Fáil


Fianna Fáil

Fianna Fáil

Labour Party