Broadcasting watchdog rejects criticism of plans to police online content

Broadcasting watchdog rejects criticism of plans to police online content

The broadcasting watchdog has rejected criticism that it is not the right institution to regulate harmful online content of social media giants Facebook and Twitter.

Michael O’Keeffe, chief executive of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), admitted it would be “daunting” to regulate online video content of large tech companies across Europe, but he said the body had the regulatory expertise needed.

The BAI has submitted a proposal to the Government seeking an extension of its powers to police harmful online content of social media platforms based in Ireland. These include Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The body, which regulates traditional broadcasters, wants the power to be able to issue take-down notices to these companies, ordering them to remove harmful content from their platforms when instructed.

It also wants to regulate the activities of video on demand platforms and develop online safety codes for companies operating out of Ireland.

Ireland, like all other EU member states, must implement new laws by September 2020 to improve online safety.

“What may be daunting is that you’re going from a situation where you’ve nothing – you’ve no regulation, no official regulation as such – and you’re going to a situation where you have a statutory regulation,” Mr O’Keefe said.

“That’s a significant shift, but it’s a very positive shift.”

Mr O’Keefe said once the regulation is implemented it will mean there that a person being affected by harmful online content will have somewhere to make a complaint.

“There will now be a statutory basis for the person that’s affected to go to a regulator and require action to be taken. That’s the key change. It’s a statutory basis for people making a complaint of something of that nature.”

But the BAI’s proposed move into the realm of online regulation was criticised by a director of Data Compliance Europe.

Simon McGarr told RTE’s Morning Ireland programme that he does not believe the BAI is the right institution to regulate social media.

Mr O’Keefe recognised it would represent a “significant change” for the organisation, but he said it was achievable once the appropriate systems were put in place.

He added that it would require the companies to “buy into” regulation of the industry and recognise their own responsibilities.

“Regulation on its own won’t solve it,” Mr O’Keefe added.

“It does need the companies to buy into having better systems, stronger more robust systems in place to prevent hate speech, cyber bulling, all of those issues.

“They will have to take part in this as well. I’ve no doubt they will, I think they’re committed to it.”

The BAI made its submission to Communications Minister Richard Bruton, who is considering the next steps to take in terms of online safety.

- Press Association

More on this topic

Vive l'amour: New dating app gives control back to female usersVive l'amour: New dating app gives control back to female users

Public’s drive to spread fake news ‘eroding’ humanityPublic’s drive to spread fake news ‘eroding’ humanity

Mother of Nicole Fox welcomes Instagram anti-bullying featuresMother of Nicole Fox welcomes Instagram anti-bullying features

Instagram asks bullies to think twice before postingInstagram asks bullies to think twice before posting

More in this Section

Man dies in crash between car and motorbike in Co CorkMan dies in crash between car and motorbike in Co Cork

No winner of Lotto jackpot but someone is €1m richerNo winner of Lotto jackpot but someone is €1m richer

Hundreds protest in Cork city against closure of An Post mail centreHundreds protest in Cork city against closure of An Post mail centre

Loyalist flute band plays in PortrushLoyalist flute band plays in Portrush


Lifestyle

Celebrate the anniversary by finding lift off without even leaving the earth, at these stateside visitor centres and museums, says Sarah Marshall.America’s top space-age attractions to celebrate 50 years since the moon landing

For bookworms and classic movie buffs, the notion of a London park will forever conjure up images of Mary Poppins with the Banks children in tow.Inside/ Out: Park life is looking up in London by Eve Kelliher

“Does anyone want to be my friend?” roared my five year old as he walked into the playground at our French campsite on holidays.Learner Dad: 'It can be heartbreaking watching your kids try make friends on holiday'

These handy product edits are so useful for travelling, says Katie Wright.Palettes pack a punch: The travel must have

More From The Irish Examiner