Dáil debates

Thursday, 22 September 2022

Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill 2022: Second Stage (Resumed)


1:10 pm

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Cuirim fáilte roimh an mBille. Ar bhealach, tá sé thar am go ndéanfadh muid a leithéid. Go dtí seo má bhí rialachas ar bith i gceist bhí sé déanta ag na comhlachtaí féin agus iad siúd á shocrú céard a bhí le feiceáil agus nach raibh le feiceáil ar na meáin shóisialta.

I welcome the introduction of this Bill and the introduction of a proper regulatory framework to deal with the spread of harmful online content. I accept this is complex. While, on the one hand, one has the right to free speech, that always has to be moderated and cannot be given without limit.

I did not like up to now that the people who decided what went up or came off were the companies themselves. That was a totally invidious and unacceptable situation. The ordinary person had no way, if there were wrong decisions, of appealing those, dealing with them or appealing to the political system because it was being done by private companies. Therefore, I welcome the idea of the Online Safety Commissioner, who will oversee the regulatory framework of online safety and who will make the safety codes.

Of course, we must look at the whole issue of media in our society. Of course, some of the established media do not like the idea that one can circumvent their mediation of the news and you can put the news up yourself. As long as it is legal, and as long as it is in good taste and is not derogatory of people etc., it is good. It reminds me of 130 years ago the plethora of pamphlets that were issued by people who could not get into the mainstream media in this country, such as James Connolly, who were putting forward a message that was maybe not the establishment message at the time and was not likely to have been published in The Irish Times, The Freeman's Journalor the Irish Independentof the time.


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