Dr. Bissera Zankova, Media 21 Foundation, Bulgaria
The AVMSD set a difficult task for the European governments to find appropriate paths to transpose its provisions into domestic legislation strengthening human rights values in the new convergent media environment. In response to this in March 2019, the Irish government launched a public consultation to inform the drafting of a new Online Safety Act, aimed to transpose the AVMS Directive. Among the goals announced was to prepare new online safety laws to apply to Irish residents and suitable regulation of Video Sharing Platforms (VSP).
As EPRA reports the Irish Broadcasting Authority (BAI) has compiled a submission, containing in-depth analysis and innovative proposals. It supports the establishment of a single comprehensive regulatory scheme and regulator, in order to develop “a vision for the future regulation of media content across all platforms and devices” which “seeks to serve and protect audiences and users in the new media environment”. The underlying principles include diversity, plurality, protection from harmful content, freedom of expression, linguistic and cultural diversity and free democratic discourse.
As the submission highlights, Ireland faces a great responsibility being the competent jurisdiction for the largest VSPs in Europe (Facebook, Twitter and Google). The BAI believes a single regulator would provide consistency in the regulation, at a time when a same content can be disseminated by multiple means. The regulator should principally work at a ‘macro’ level in order to effectively deliver on the regulatory objectives. The regulatory authority would be in charge of the very important decisions affecting a large number of users simultaneously. This involves drafting statutory codes and assessing the measures undertaken by VSPs, on a regular and on-going basis. Conversely, the VSPs are the best positioned and equipped to resolve rapidly ‘micro’ issues. The regulator should focus its resources and efforts on public interest matters, monitoring and assessing on a regular basis the VSP compliance with the statutory codes. The system proposed would rely on frequent communication between the VSPs and the regulator through regular reports and an electronic information sharing mechanism, along with a robust and transparent complaints mechanism.
AVMSD transposition: BAI’s proposals in response to Irish government’s public consultation