Wednesday 12 December 2018

Broadcast watchdog in Facebook talks as new EU rules loom

Ireland to have key policing role for material screened on tech platforms

CEO of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), Michael O’Keeffe. Photo: David Conachy
CEO of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), Michael O’Keeffe. Photo: David Conachy

Samantha McCaughren, Business Editor

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has met Facebook to discuss new EU rules that will see material broadcast on video-sharing platforms and social media sites face new regulations.

Ireland is to have a key policing role in relation to the revised Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive that was adopted by the European Commission in recent weeks.

The directive will require new media broadcasters, such as Facebook and YouTube, to obey Ireland's interpretation of EU broadcasting rules in relation to independent production quotas, advertising, protection of minors, incitement to hatred and terrorism. On-demand services, such as Netflix, will also be covered by the rules.

Several tech giants have their European headquarters in Ireland, which means that the vast role of enforcing the directive will largely fall to Irish authorities.

A spokeswoman for the BAI said: "Representatives of the BAI Executive met with Facebook on 8th November for an exploratory discussion on the revised directive."

It is not yet clear if the regulation will fall to the BAI or another regulatory Irish body, but the BAI has been actively involved in discussing the matter with the European Regulators' Group and the Department of Communications in recent months.

The Department of Communications plans to "hold a public consultation on Ireland's approach to the implementation of the directive, scheduled to commence before the end of the year", added the BAI spokeswoman.

"In preparing for this consultation, the BAI has been reviewing the directive and exploring the potential issues arising from its implementation."

Michael O'Keeffe, chief executive of the BAI, previously told the Sunday Independent that Ireland would have a significant role in regulating the updated rules. "Ireland will have an important role. The European Commission will obviously be looking closely at how we implement this," said O'Keeffe.

A spokesman for the Department of Communications said it had "engaged with stakeholders throughout the negotiations on the revised directive" including Government departments, online platforms, on-demand audiovisual media services, and television broadcasters, as well as the national and local print media and the BAI.

Member states will have 21 months to reflect the revised directive in their national laws.

Sunday Indo Business

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