Dublin, 24 June
• Expert Group report on Internet Content
• 30 recommendations from Group to be followed up
by a team from 5 Government Departments.
• “New architecture will ensure important issues
such as cyber-bullying and content blocking don’t fall between the cracks”
The Minister for Communications Energy &
Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, T.D. today published the Report of the Internet
Content Governance Advisory (ICGA) Group. He said: “I am delighted to launch
this report. When I formed the ICGA Group in December last year, I set them the
challenging target of reporting to me by the end of May. They not only met this
deadline but produced a high quality, comprehensive and insightful report with
The Minister had asked the expert group to
consider a number of issues arising for society, and in particular for children
and young people, from the dramatic growth in internet use over the last decade,
and particularly since the advent of affordable internet connected mobile
devices. They were asked to deal with the issues of bullying and harassment
online and issues around age inappropriate viewing of content.
The Minister reflected today on the wide ranging
recommendations of the report which include changes to institutional,
legislative and administrative governance arrangements and praised the Group’s
proactive and consultative approach in preparing the report:
“My thanks go to the Group’s Chairperson Dr
Brian O’Neill who deftly steered the work of the Group and indeed to all the
Group members who freely donated their time and expertise to this important
contribution to policy formation on internet content governance in this
The Minister also announced the formation of an
implementation group chaired by his Department and comprising representatives of
the Departments of Children and Youth Affairs, Education and Skills, Justice and
Equality, and Health, who will agree on and oversee the implementation of the
ICGA Group recommendations. The Minister state that “I am encouraged by the
response of my Cabinet colleagues to the proposals contained within this report,
and I am confident that we will have comprehensive set of actions agreed on this
very soon.” It is anticipated that this implementation group will conclude
their work within 4 months.
He noted that while implementation would be
complex, he was confident that, collectively, the Departments would be able to
deliver real and worthwhile changes to the existing systems and legislation used
to deal with online content.
A copy of the ICGA group report can be downloaded here http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/Broadcasting/ICG/
Notes for Editors
Minister Rabbitte formed the Internet Content
Governance Advisory Group in December 2013 to provide him with expert,
independent advice in forming legislative, policy and regulatory recommendations
to Government on a range of internet content governance issues for which
responsibility is spread across a number of Government Departments.
The Group conducted a public consultation on the
emerging issues arising from widespread access to online content and its impact
on society as a whole, taking particular account of issues of online safety
arising from children and young people’s use of the Internet. This consultation
ran between 28th January and 18th March 2014 and 59 responses were received
during this period from citizens, industry, not for profit organisations and
representative groups. The Group then used these responses to inform their
policy recommendations. The Group also met with a number of the major
international companies based in Ireland who operate in this space. These
submissions will be published shortly.
The Group submitted their report to the Minister
on 30th May. The Group’s key recommendations can be summarised as:
• A revised role for the Office for Internet
• Expand and reconfigure the Internet Safety
Advisory Committee as the National Council for Child Internet Safety.
• Enhance and resource the Safer Internet Ireland
project, currently co-financed by the European Commission, to act as the Safer
Internet Ireland Centre (SIIC).
2. Legislative Measures
• Amend the Communications Regulation (Amendment)
Act 2007 to include ‘electronic communications’ within the definition of
measures dealing with the ‘sending of messages which are grossly offensive,
indecent, obscene or menacing’.
• Establish a review of the suitability of
current discovery and disclosure rules of court to ensure that these processes
are suitable for cases involving online media.
3. Administrative/Policy Questions
• That the Department of Communications, Energy
and Natural Resources be formally charged with coordinating Internet content
policy at government level in addition to its extant roles in dealing with these
issues at an international level.
• Responsibility for the governance of online
media on demand in accordance with the provisions of the Audiovisual Media
Services Directive should be assigned to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
• An inter-agency working group should be
established by the Department of Education and Skills in conjunction with the
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment to identify appropriate
mechanisms to ensure that Internet safety and digital literacy skills are taught
as a core element of the curriculum at both primary and post-primary levels.
• Internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile
network operators (MNOs) should be encouraged to include parental control
products and services as part of their consumer offering.
• An awareness-raising campaign to encourage
parents to make more use of the array of parental controls should be developed
as a collaborative initiative of National Parent Councils, youth representative
organisations, children’s charities and industry.
• A ‘family-friendly’ logo to designate the use
of filtering of adult or other age-inappropriate content for public Wi-Fi access
points should be developed.
• Awareness-raising by relevant agencies and by
industry should provide authoritative guidance and support targeted at specific
groups of users likely to access potentially harmful content.
Additional details on the Group’s membership
and terms of reference is available at: http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/Broadcasting/ICG/