State’s failure to enforce new AV directive leaves ‘EU children exposed to inappropriate content’

BECU says iunacceptable regulations not being applied to video-sharing services established in Ireland

BECU says the current case relates to TikTok but it is not the only major video sharing platform established in Ireland. Photograph: iStock

BECU says the current case relates to TikTok but it is not the only major video sharing platform established in Ireland. Photograph: iStock

 

The failure of the Irish Government to apply and enforce new directives on audiovisual media services is leaving children across the EU exposed to inappropriate content on popular video sharing platforms such as TikTok, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) has said.

The organisation said it was unacceptable that the regulations were not being applied to video-sharing services established in Ireland. The rules govern EU-wide coordination of all audiovisual media, including traditional TV broadcasts and on-demand services, and video-sharing platforms, and extend rules regarding hate speech to video-sharing platforms.

In a letter to European regulators, BEUC expressed serious concerns about the failure of the Government to act on the new rules, which should have been transposed into law here more than a year ago. As a result, BEUC said, the relevant authority here, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, cannot take action.

The group said it was concerned about the legal gap and lack of enforcement.

“It is a serious cause for concern that because of one country’s failure to act, children across the EU are not protected against inappropriate content on one of the most popular video-sharing platforms,” said Ursula Pachl, deputy director general of the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC).

“The Irish authorities must apply and enforce EU audiovisual media rules as a matter of urgency to protect children on video sharing platforms. The current case relates to TikTok but it is not the only major video sharing platform established in Ireland. We call on EU authorities to take measures to address this problem while the Irish regulator is not in a position to do so.”

The European Commission began infringement proceedings against Ireland and 22 other member states in November last year with regards to the implementation of the directives.

“Problems due to the non-transposition of a law in one single country should not hold up the effective application of EU rules and undermine the protection of consumers all across Europe in this way,” Ms Pachl said. “It’s also time that the EU institutions rethink the enforcement rules for the Single Market which do not work well enough for the protection of consumers and citizens in the digital world.”

BEUC said its research, published earlier this year, shows the platform is subjecting children to “hidden advertising and inappropriate content” that could hinder their physical, mental and moral development. BEUC filed a complaint with the EU about the video sharing platform in February.