Broad­cast watch­dog in Face­book talks as new EU rules loom

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

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - Sunday Business - 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.

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