18 January, 2023
A new multi-person authority to regulate media services
Signed into law on 10 December 2022, the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022 transposes the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive and establishes the Coimisiún na Meán (Media Commission).
This highly anticipated OSMR Act 2022 amends the Broadcasting Act 2009 and introduces a new regulatory framework for audiovisual media services.
In a nutshell:
- The dissolution of the BAI and the establishment of the Coimisiún na Meán
The new Act dissolves the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and transfers the entire entity to the new Coimisiún na Meán. An executive Chairperson and between three and six Commissioners - including an Online Safety Commissioner - shall be appointed by the relevant Minister.
The Act enables Coimisiún na Meán to impose a levy on providers to cover its expenses and its working capital requirements.
On 17 January 2023, the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media has announced her intention to appoint Jeremy Godfrey as Executive Chairperson, Niamh Hodnett as Online Safety Commissioner, Rónán Ó Domhnaill as Media Development Commissioner and Celene Craig as Broadcasting Commissioner. Meanwhile recruitment for the Commissioner for Digital Services is ongoing.
- Video on-demand services under statutory regulation
Providers of audiovisual on-demand media services shall now register their services to Coimisiún na Meán and comply with the rules stated in the OSMR Act 2022.
- Binding Online Safety Codes applied to video-sharing platforms
Relevant online services under Irish jurisdiction and designated by Coimisiún na Meán - including video-sharing platforms - shall comply to binding Online Safety Codes that the Coimisiún na Meán shall draft. These Codes aim at ensuring that designated online service providers take appropriate measures to minimise the availability of harmful content, as defined within the OMSR Act. While the Act already lists a broad spectrum of harms, Coimisiún na Meán would be able to propose new categories of harmful online content to the Government.
For online services outside of Irish jurisdiction, Coimisiún na Meán will be entitled to conclude voluntary arrangements with these providers to comply to the Codes.
Coimisiún na Meán shall also make a scheme to nominate specific bodies enabled to notify the Commission of issues related to designated online services and their (non) compliance to the Online Safety Codes.
- Enforcement and investigation powers
To implement the Act, Coimisiún na Meán acquires important enforcement powers such as the right to carry out investigation, issue access blocking orders or content limitation notices and impose administrative financial sanctions up to €20 million or 10% of the relevant annual turnover.
Coimisiún na Meán will also be competent for breaches of the Online Safety Codes.
- Support to the media industry and European Works
In addition to European Works quotas (30% of the on-demand services providers' catalogue), Coimisiún na Meán may impose a levy to support European Work production.
A support scheme may also be prepared to support community sound broadcasters and good professional journalistic practices.
According to the Irish Government, Coimisiún na Meán will be the Digital Services Coordinator, as defined in the Digital Services Act.
- According to the Irish Government, the Commissioners will take up their duties in mid-February.
- It is expected that Coimisiún na Meán will be formally established a number of weeks after the appointment of the Executive Chairperson and the Commissioners.
- The Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022
- Press release on the OSMR Act 2022
- Press release related to the forthcoming Commissioners' appointment
Source: Irish Government/BAI