FuJo Deputy Director Dr. Eileen Culloty was invited to present expert testimony to a Joint Oireachtas Committee meeting on online disinformation and media literacy in relation to the new Online Safety and Media Regulation (OSMR) Bill. Eileen spoke alongside Media Literacy Ireland Co-Chair Prof. Brian O’Neill and National Coordinator Martina Chapman, while Professor Mary Aiken addressed the committee in a separate session.
Eileen spoke about FuJo’s work in assessing platform compliance with the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation, particularly CovidCheck, as well as introducing the role that the Irish hub of the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) will play in combatting disinformation and promoting media literacy in Ireland. She also reiterated the call for platforms to provide better data to “researchers, regulators, and policymakers…to understand the nature of the problem and to assess the effectiveness of proposed countermeasures”. You can read her full opening statement here.
The OSMR Bill will replace the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with a Media Commission, which will regulate online, broadcasting and video-on-demand services like Netflix. It will also establish an Online Safety Commissioner who, once appointed, will implement online safety codes to mitigate online harms.Last November, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Tourism, Culture, Arts, Sport and Media issued a report on pre-legislative Scrutiny, which made a total of 33 recommendations. Minister Catherine Martin is expected to form an expert group to report on the Joint Committee’s proposed amendments including the establishment of an individual complaints mechanism for harmful online content. The new legislation could be enacted by the summer recess.