Aindrias Moynihan: Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill will help protect our children

Published on: 21 January 2022

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West, Aindrias Moynihan has stated that the publication of the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill this week can help protect our children as they continue to navigate the online world.


Deputy Moynihan commented, “The publication of this Bill today and the new measures it introduces, can help us all deal with the challenges of using and living in the modern digital world - especially for our children. 


“There are many unknowns that our children and teenagers are at risk of in the digital era. Cyberbullying can more often than not be a silent predator; knowledge, communication and oversight is more important now than ever.


“This Bill will help protect our children as we all continue to familiarise ourselves with their heightened connectivity to the world that lies right at their fingertips.”


The Cork North West TD added: “Being a parent myself I understand the concerns being raised, which led to a campaign I ran back in 2018 highlighting cyber safety and the hosting of information meetings with schools and parents in the area highlighting this issue, so I do understand the very real importance of online safety to parents and children today.”


  • The Bill will establish a new regulator, a multi-person Media Commission (Coimisiún na Meán), which will replace the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, and will transpose the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive. 

  • The Commission will be responsible for overseeing updated regulations for broadcasting and video on-demand services and the new regulatory framework for online safety created by the Bill. 

  • As a member of the Media Commission, an Online Safety Commissioner will oversee the regulatory framework for online safety. 

  • As part of the framework, the Commissioner will devise binding online safety codes that will set out how regulated online services, including certain social media services, are expected to deal with certain defined categories of harmful online content on their platforms. The defined categories of harmful online content include criminal material, serious cyber-bullying material and material promoting self-harm, suicide and eating disorders. 

  • The Online Safety Commissioner will have a range of powers to ensure compliance, including the power to require the provision of information, to appoint authorised officers to conduct investigations and to sanction non-compliant online services, including through financial sanctions of up to €20 million or 10% of turnover. 

  • The Media Commission will regulate television and radio broadcasters and video on-demand services. The regulations that apply to these services will be set out in Media Codes and Rules and will address issues such as programme standards, advertising, sponsorship, product placement, accessibility and other matters. 

  • Given the importance of the Commission, the Government has also approved its establishment on an administrative basis prior to the enactment of the Bill. While the Commission will ultimately be funded through levies on regulated services €5.5 million was secured in Budget 2022 for start-up funding to allow the Commission hit the ground running. 

  • The Bill incorporates the majority of the 33 recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sports and Media in their pre-legislative scrutiny report of the General Scheme of the Bill. 

  • In relation to the recommendation of the Committee relating to provision of an individual complaints mechanism for harmful online content, the Minister intends to establish an expert advisory group to consider the complex practical and legal issues associated with the recommendations and report back within 90 days.