The body which is responsible for regulating TV and radio in Ireland has proposed that it be given powers to regulate harmful online content on social media platforms.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland is proposing it be given the power to issue notices to remove harmful content, develop an online safety code and to promote awareness of online safety in Ireland.

It also proposes being given powers to regulate the activities of video-sharing platforms based in Ireland, such as YouTube and Facebook.

It says it wants to develop "high level rules and regulations" for these platforms, monitor the implementation of these rules and oversee a related complaints and appeals mechanism.

The BAI says it believes a single comprehensive regulatory scheme and regulator is the best way to regulate online safety here.

The BAI's proposals are being made part of the Government's Public Consultation on the Regulation of Harmful Content and the authority is due to publish the details of the proposals tomorrow.

Minister for Communications Richard Bruton called for ideas to be submitted last March and is due to publish the proposals received by his department next week.

All EU member states have to put the provisions of a new EU Directive on Audiovisual Media Services into law by September 2020.

But some experts have said the Broadcasting Authority is not the right body to regulate the online space

Author of the Psychology of Social Media Dr Ciarán McMahon said that if it was possible to regulate social media under existing bodies it would have been done already and that such content needed to be policed by another body.

Dr McMahon also said that more investment is needed in education and research in the area.

In a statement, Facebook said that it shares the Government's commitment to tackling harmful content online and believes regulation is needed.

But the social media platform said there are complex issues to get right and it looks forward to working with the Government to ensure the new regulations are effective.

The BAI is due to publish its proposals tomorrow and the Department of Communications will reveal the other submissions later this week.