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Out-Law News 1 min. read

Media Commission to have Digital Services Act role in Ireland

The newly established Media Commission in Ireland is to be responsible for regulating online intermediaries under the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA).

The Media Commission, or Coimisiún na Meán, assumed responsibility for regulating broadcast and online media in Ireland on 15 March when the Online Safety and Media Regulation Act 2022 took effect. Now the Irish government has confirmed (88-page / 495KB PDF) that the regulator will take on the role of ‘digital services coordinator’ for Ireland under the DSA next year.

The DSA came into force on 16 November 2022, though the majority of its provisions do not take effect until 16 February 2024. The legislation alters the liability framework for online intermediaries operating in the EU and stiffens requirements around how they manage illegal and harmful content published, and goods and services sold, via their services. A tiered system of regulation applies, with obligations of varying stringency depending on the nature and size of the services provided. 

The European Commission will be responsible for supervising the activities of very large online platforms (VLOPs) and very large online search engines (VLOSEs) under the DSA, with national regulators – digital services coordinators – responsible for supervision and enforcement of the DSA in respect of other online intermediaries subject to the legislation.

In Ireland, the Media Commission is currently led by an executive chairperson and three other commissioners with responsibilities for broadcasting, media development and online safety respectively. A fifth commissioner responsible for overseeing the new digital services functions is to be appointed to the Commission, the Irish government has confirmed.

Among its DSA duties, the Media Commission will be responsible for assessing requests from ‘vetted researchers’ for access to data held by VLOPs and VLOSEs; awarding ‘trusted flagger’ status to third parties engaged in identifying content online platforms may have to remove from their services; issuing orders to take down illegal content; hearing and resolving complaints made concerning infringement of the DSA; and investigating and taking enforcement action under the DSA.

The Media Commission’s functions and powers under the DSA will begin to apply from 17 February 2024.

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