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Minister Martin brings forward amendments to the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill


Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, has today tabled a number of Government amendments to the Online Safety and Media Regulation (OSMR) Bill. These amendments are being tabled during Seanad Report Stage consideration of the Bill. Their primary purpose is to address a range of issues raised by Senators during Seanad Committee Stage, which concluded on 31 May 2022.


Chief among these are three amendments which give effect to the Minister’s commitment to explicitly provide for the role of Online Safety Commissioner within the OSMR Bill. The effect of these amendments is to require that at least one of the commissioners within the regulator created by the Bill, Coimisiún na Meán (the Media Commission), will be designated as an Online Safety Commissioner.


Minister Martin said:


I would like to thank Senators for their contribution to the debate on the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill as it is passing through the Seanad. I recognise the importance of a number of issues raised by Senators during Seanad Committee Stage. This is why I am tabling 62 Government amendments to the Bill today at Seanad Report Stage, which will address a range of these issues.


Among these amendments are three which will explicitly provide for the role of Online Safety Commissioner. This was a key recommendation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee and something which I had committed to addressing as the Bill passes through the Oireachtas. The role of Online Safety Commissioner will be a key post within Coimisiún na Meán and will have primary responsibility for enforcing the regulatory framework for online safety set down by the Bill”






Notes to Editor


The Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill can be found here and further information about the Bill can be found here.


The amendments proposed by the Minister may be found here on the Oireachtas website.


In addition to the amendment relating to the Online Safety Commissioner, the amendments being proposed by the Minister will:


  • Clarify the powers and functions of Coimisiún na Meán by:


    • setting out that An Coimisiún has a particular commitment to the safety of children;


    • adding provisions that An Coimisiún must have regard to the linguistic and socio-economic diversity of the people of the island of Ireland when carrying out its functions in relation to broadcasting services and video on-demand services;


    • adding provisions requiring Coimisiún na Meán to bear in mind the participation and representation of the people of the island of Ireland on broadcasting and video on-demand services;


    • adding provisions requiring Coimisiún na Meán to promote and encourage the use of the Irish language by communications media; and


    • adding provisions to explicitly require Coimisiún na Meán to have regard to matters relating to child safety and to the regulation of gambling and to the policies of Government and relevant Ministers and public bodies in that regard.


  • Provide for the establishment of a Youth Advisory Committee by Coimisiún na Meán, which shall, in particular, advise An Coimisiún as regards its online safety functions as they relate to persons not more than 25 years of age.


  • Provide for Coimisiún na Meán to publish various key documents, reports and rules or to provide them to the relevant Joint Oireachtas Committee;


  • Clarify matters relating to data sharing and data governance by:


    • providing that where the An Coimisiún discloses a person’s personal data in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Broadcasting Act 2009 (as amended by the OSMR Bill)  they shall notify the person of the disclosure insofar as it is practicable to do so; and,
    • requiring the Minister to consider whether it is necessary to subject proposed regulations to prescribe further bodies to whom Coimisiún na Mean may disclose personal data or further matters regarding which personal data may be disclosed to a data protection impact assessment and, if so, to carry out such an assessment.


  • Clarify the powers of Coimisiún na Meán to prohibit or restrict commercial communications through media service and online safety codes.


  • Provide that, where Coimisiún na Meán refers or dismisses a complaint made it regarding an audiovisual media service, An Coimisíún An Coimisiún shall notify the person within 30 days of the date of the reference or dismissal.


  • Clarify the terminology used to describe audiovisual programmes which may be funded through a European Works Scheme by:


    • specifying that programmes relating to biodiversity may be funded; and,


    • clarifying a reference to human rights, equality, diversity and inclusion.