A bill to regulate social media, online advertising and streaming services is due for Cabinet approval today.
Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media Minister Catherine Martin will present a note to the government seeking to release the online security and media regulation bill.
The bill will establish a new media commission, which will include an online security commissioner. The new body will be responsible for overseeing updated regulations for streaming and video-on-demand services, such as Netflix and Disney +, and the new regulatory framework for online safety.
The media commission has the potential to be one of the most powerful regulators in the state, as it will oversee all media, including tech companies. It will take over the current functions of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and regulate both television and radio broadcasters.
The broad outline of the bill has been the subject of extensive pre-legislative scrutiny for most of the past year, and the Oireachtas committee released a report on it in November. He recommended that there be a legal minimum age for opening social media accounts and that a tax on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime be introduced to fund independent Irish productions.
Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has indicated that the government will take measures to reduce the working hours of civil servants.
Civil service unions have welcomed a recommendation to restore working hours to pre-Haddington Road levels.
The recommendation is made by an independent body chaired by Kieran Mulvey, who was tasked with resolving the issue under the Building Momentum public service agreement.
Mr Varadkar said: “We have a situation for a number of years where a large group of public servants had to work hours they were not paid for. And that is not fair.”
However, he raised some concerns about the total number of working hours per week.
“The total number of working hours in the economy and in societies is a workweek of around 39 hours. If we were to go back to 37 or 35 hours, in some cases we have to be sure that it doesn’t was not going to have a negative impact on public services, ”he said.
“The last thing we need now is less hours of home help, less hours of speaking and speaking, less time for gardaí to be on the beat – all these things – we we will therefore have to see it all over the place and make sure that everything we do does not have a negative impact on the quality of public services.