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Video sharing platforms will have to place warnings on harmful content which might incite terrorism

Communications Minister Denis Naughten said his department will begin work on the new law next year

Image: Shutterstock/Halfpoint

VIDEO SHARING PLATFORMS, such as YouTube, will have to put appropriate measures in place to ensure children are protected from certain types of harmful content, such as hate speech, which might incite terrorism.

Communications Minister Denis Naughten said his department will begin work next year on transposing the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) into Irish law.

The regulation will impact all platforms which organise and tag large quantities of videos.

The AVMSD governs EU-wide law on all audiovisual media, both traditional TV broadcasts and on-demand services.

The directive contains specific rules to protect minors from “inappropriate” on-demand media content.

It states that access to the most harmful content shall be subject to the strictest measures – such as PIN codes and encryption.

Harmful to children 

It will also make it mandatory for all media service providers to provide sufficient information to viewers about how harmful content may be to minors. This will take the form of description indicating the nature of the content about to be viewed.

Under the new rules, programmes which “might seriously impair” the development of minors will be allowed for on-demand services, but they may only be made available in such a way that minors will not normally hear or see them.

This could be done by the use of PIN codes or other, more sophisticated age verification systems.

When “harmful” programmes are not encrypted, they must be preceded by an acoustic warning or by means of a clearly identifiable visual symbol throughout their duration.

The AVMSD takes into account that the protection of minors must “always be balanced with other important values of a democratic society like freedom of expression and cannot work without parental responsibility”. However, the more harmful content may be, the more restrictions that will apply.

Naughten said the draft directive is currently being discussed between the European Council, Parliament and the Commission.

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