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McAuliffe calls for discussion on banning online political advertising

McAuliffe calls for discussion on banning online political advertising

At the recent joint Oireachtas Committee hearing on the Electoral Reform Act, Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin North West and spokesperson for Electoral Reform and Local Government, Paul McAuliffe highlighted his concerns regarding online political advertising during elections.

The Electoral Reform Act has been published following decades of talk about its delivery. The Act regulates many areas of electoral reform and includes several measures which will make it easier for young people and those living away from their family home to register to vote.

The Act also deals with the issue of online paid-for political advertising during election periods.

Raising his concern Deputy McAuliffe said, “This Bill allows for political advertising on social media platforms and yet advertising on local radio and tv is disallowed. Many social media platforms have a poor track record with regards to managing fake news and deliberate manipulation. Why are we allowing this funding stream to continue whilst denying it to reputable media outlets?

“There is a strong case to be made for banning online political advertising during elections and also looking, more broadly, at the way political advertising operates outside of elections.

“This Bill would seem to allow RTÉ to broadcast political advertising on its streaming services but not on its terrestrial tv services. This is something that needs to be discussed and addressed as a matter of urgency.

“We live in an age where people are consuming more and more news online and social media platforms are playing a greater role in shaping the political debate. It’s important that we move swiftly to bring some transparency and authenticity to that debate," concluded Deputy McAuliffe.

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