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Media Commission in Ireland announces its plans for online safety and implementation of the Digital Services Act for 2023

On 20 June, the Media Commission in Ireland (Commission), three months after its establishment under the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act (OSMR), published its long awaited Work Programme for 2023 up until the end of February 2024.

In addition to its functions under the OSMR and the Broadcasting Act 2009, the  Commission has been designated by the Irish government as the Digital Services Coordinator under the Digital Services Act (DSA). It is expected that a fifth Commissioner will be appointed to lead the Commission’s functions under the DSA.

The Commission’s objectives for its first year focus on four key areas; the regulation of Online Safety, Audio-Visual Media Services and Radio, Media Development and the internal development of the Commission.

In this post, we consider the Commission’s plans for the implementation of the DSA and regulation of online content and online safety:

What can stakeholders expect?

The Commission is aware and acknowledges the role and responsibility it has in regulating the world’s largest online platforms and search engines.

In its Programme, the Commission makes reference to identification by the European Commission of 19 very large online platforms (VLOPs) and search engines for the purpose of the DSA, and recognises that 11 of the 19 VLOPs have their European headquarters in Ireland. At its launch, Ireland’s Online Safety Commissioner said that the Commission has the power to effectively enforce by imposing administrative sanctions of up to 10% of relevant turnover or up to EUR 20 million (whichever is greater).

This year, the Commission intends to:

Role as Digital Services Coordinator and implementation of the DSA: 

Engage with stakeholders commencing in Q3 on procedures and policies under the DSA. At the end of 2023, the Digital Services Coordinator will begin to engage with platforms to establish monitoring and supervisory arrangements.

In its Work Programme, the Commission highlighted that it would commence enforcement of the DSA at the beginning of 2024.  By 17 February 2024, the Commission intends to have fully implemented procedures and capabilities for its Digital Services Coordinator responsibilities, such as compliance monitoring, notices under Articles 9 (orders to act against illegal content) and 10 (orders to provide information), vetted researchers, trusted flaggers, complaint handling, and out-of-court dispute resolution bodies.

Online Safety Codes:

Call for input on its Online Safety Code and later in the year will open a consultation on a draft. It is expected that the code will set out specific requirements for video-sharing platforms and will include the adoption of measures for the protection of minors from harmful video content, hate speech directed against groups with protected characteristics, and criminal offences (terrorism, child sex abuse material and racism). The Commission will also consult on a draft E-commerce strategy.

Video-sharing platforms: 

Shortly commence consulting with video-sharing platforms (VSPS) in relation to designation under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. Once the category designation is established, the Commission will issue information requests to VSPS to assist with named service designations. The Commission expects to then consult and decide on named service designations before publishing a VSPS register at the end of 2023.

Regulation of Terrorist Content:  

Separately, the Commission will consult on and implement procedures and guidelines under the EU’s Terrorist Content Regulation (discussed in a previous insight at the link). The regulation requires the swift take-down of online terrorist content within one hour with fines for non-compliance. The Commission was designated the competent authority under the regulation by the Irish government. 

What’s next?

The Commission’s role as Digital Services Coordinator is a key objective for 2023, and this will only come more into focus in 2024.

The Online Safety Code is scheduled to be adopted at the end of 2023. The Commission has also signalled its intention to grow and expand. The Commission’s headcount currently stands at 50, up 10 since its establishment three months ago, with approval to grow to a staff of 160.

We are working with our colleagues across the EU advising clients on the DSA and on other domestic laws that impose obligations in relation to online content and online safety. Please get in touch for further information and insight.


online content, online safety, social media, enforcement, europe, media, digital services act, dsa