Written answers

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Internet Safety Issues

Photo of Arthur SpringArthur Spring (Kerry North-West Limerick, Labour)
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256. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if web sites promoting eating disorders, also referred to as pro mia and pro ana websites, can be censored here if the target market of the site is considered to be under the age of eighteen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21422/13]

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Minister, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Dublin South West, Labour)
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As Minister for Communications Energy and Natural Resources, I have policy responsibility for providing a supportive legislative and regulatory environment to facilitate the development of high quality communications infrastructure and services. However, I do not have sole responsibility for addressing how that infrastructure is used. Responsibility of certain potentially harmful content rests with a number of Departments and Agencies including with the Department of Justice and Equality and the executive agency of that Department, the Office for Internet Safety.

It is clear that there are no simple answers to the challenges posed by the positioning of certain potentially harmful content on Internet websites, not least because of the international basis of services and because any possible policy response falls across a range of Departments.

In recognition of this complexity my Department maintains open and regular contact with all Departments and State agencies. My Department also monitors international developments with a view to ensuring domestic policy within its remit reflects best practices and that the regulatory framework is amended as necessary.

You will be aware that the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications recently held a number of hearings on the use of the Internet and its potential effect on people. I look forward to receiving the report of the committee in due course.

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