Expert group to consider inclusion of individual complaints mechanism in online safety law
An expert group chaired by former competition chief Isolde Goggin has been established to examine the possibility of including an individual complaints mechanism in Ireland’s landmark online safety legislation.
The group, which includes distinguished barrister Ronan Lupton SC and experts on children’s safety, will have 90 days to report back to the government on whether including such a mechanism is practicable and, if so, how it may be done.
Once the group has completed its work, Catherine Martin, the minister for tourism, culture, arts, Gaeltacht, sport and media, will consider amending the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill as it passes through the Oireachtas.
The expert group is being established on the foot of two recommendations of the joint Oireachtas committee on tourism, culture, arts, sport and media arising from their pre-legislative scrutiny of the general scheme of the bill.
Ms Martin said: “If an individual complaints mechanism can be provided for through the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill then I would like to ensure that this is done.
“I am establishing this expert group, in light of the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee from their pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill, to examine whether an individual complaints mechanism can be provided for and, if it can, in how it would work in practice.
“The issue of providing for avenues of redress in terms of individual pieces of content in the online world is complex and at the end of the day any proposal I bring forward to address this issue must be practical and legally robust.
Ms Goggin said: “The issue of providing for an individual complaints mechanism through the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill raises a number of practical and legal issues yet may also have the potential to have positive effects for individuals affected by harmful online content.
“We must be realistic about the challenges posed by providing for such a system while being aware of its potential benefits and seek to find workable solutions, including by examining best practices in dealing with complaints by bodies in Ireland and internationally. This is exactly what the expert group will do in bringing our recommendations to minister Martin.”