Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Online Safety

Photo of Jennifer Murnane O'ConnorJennifer Murnane O'Connor (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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69. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will provide an update on the recruitment of an Online Safety Commissioner and establishment of a support structure for their work; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32426/22]

Photo of Catherine MartinCatherine Martin (Dublin Rathdown, Green Party)
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The Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill 2022 provides for the dissolution of the BAI and establishment of a new regulator, Coimisiún na Meán, which will oversee updated regulatory frameworks for broadcasting and video-on-demand service and a new regulatory framework for online safety.

To oversee the regulatory framework for online safety, Coimisiún na Meán will include an Online Safety Commissioner, whose goal will be to minimise the availability of defined categories of harmful online content through binding online safety codes, including categories of offence-specific content, serious cyberbullying content, content promoting self-harm and suicide and content promoting eating disorders.

A programme of work is now underway to secure the recruitment of key staff with the relevant skills and experience to establish and lead An Coimisiún and to lay the groundwork for the commencement of its regulatory functions. This includes managing the transition of Broadcasting Authority of Ireland staff and functions to An Coimisiún, while at the same time ensuring the continuity of existing broadcasting regulation set out under the Broadcasting Act 2009.

Work is currently underway between my officials and officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Public Appointments Service to secure the recruitment of the Online Safety Commissioner through an open, transparent and effective public competition. As provided for by the Bill, the recruitment of the Online Safety Commissioner will be carried out by the Public Appointments Service. The Public Appointments Service are currently procuring an Executive Search service to ensure that an experienced panel of candidates with the necessary expertise may be brought forward for interview. I expect that this critical post will be advertised in July.


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