Irish President Higgins has signed the Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill into law.
The OSMR Act 2022 amends the Broadcasting Act 2009 to establish Coimisiún na Meán (a multi-person Media Commission), dissolve the
Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, establish a regulatory framework for online safety, update the regulation of television broadcasting and video on-demand services, and transpose the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive into Irish law.
The regulatory framework for online safety will be overseen by an Online Safety Commissioner, who will be empowered to make binding Online Safety Codes to hold designated online services to account for how they tackle the availability
of some of the most serious forms of harmful online content. The Commissioner is also empowered under the Act to introduce an individual complaints mechanism on a phased basis, focusing initially on children and to order the removal or limitation of
availability of specific items of harmful online content, either on foot of a complaint or on its own initiative.
Updates to the regulation of television broadcasting and video on-demand services will bring video on-demand
services under statutory regulation for the first time. Providers of such services will, as broadcasters currently are, be subject to binding codes and rules, including in relation to advertising, accessibility and impartiality in news and current
Coimisiún na Meán will have a modern suite of robust compliance and enforcement powers, including the powers to appoint authorised officers to conduct investigations of suspected non-compliance, to require the provision
of information and to seek administrative financial sanctions of up to 20 million euros or 10% of turnover. Ultimately, providers of regulated services under the Act who remain in breach of the rules may be subject to criminal prosecution.