9th December 2020 | Crime, Digital, Justice, Press Releases

Greens welcome Online Safety Bill as ‘crucial legislation’ in fight against cyberbullying

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The Green Party has welcomed the new provisions to the General Scheme of the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill, which was announced today by the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD.

“This is a crucial piece of legislation that will put an end to the era of soft-regulation of online platforms. It will ensure Ireland is one of the first countries in the world to do so in a systemic way.  Ireland will now be regulating many of the significant online companies on behalf of all EU member states with major European headquarters set up here”, Minister Martin stated.

The new provisions for Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill will create a new media regulator, the Media Commission, and establish a new framework for online safety.

Minister Martin added:

“This will regulate broadcasters, video on-demand services and online safety. This new commission will include an Online Safety Commissioner who will be empowered to address the spread of harmful online content such as criminal material, serious cyberbullying and material promoting self-harm, suicide or eating disorders.

“Furthermore, there are serious financial sanctions for online platforms that fail to comply with regulations. And there are also potential criminal sanctions for senior employees of these companies. New EU rules for video on-demand services are also implemented under this Bill which will ensure they are regulated in a similar way to television broadcasters.”

The Bill was one of the commitments made in the Programme for Government and is expected to be enacted in 2021.