26 September 2013


The New Zealand Government has announced its response to the NZ Law Commission’s The News Media Meets “New Media”: Rights, Responsibilities and Regulation in the Digital Age, ie the official law reform report regarding regulation of news media.

The announcement states that
 The report considered how unregulated news media could be regulated and/or if our current regulatory bodies should be extended to cover media such as blogs. 
“I thank the Law Commission for its thorough report proposing innovative solutions to the regulatory challenges presented by new media providers and new media platforms,” [Justice Minister] Collins says. 
“We expect that print and on-line media outlets will continue to strengthen their self-regulation while the Broadcasting Standards Authority will retain its responsibility for TV and radio under the Broadcasting Act.” 
Ms Collins says the Government has decided not to establish a single independent regulatory body to hear complaints across all news media formats at this time. 
Currently, there is one regulator for each media format, for example the Press Council for print media and the Broadcasting Standards Authority for television and radio. 
“Unlike recent reviews in the UK and Australia, the Law Commission’s report was not driven by a crisis of confidence in the mainstream media,” Ms Collins says. 
New Zealand exceptionalism is so very reassuring.

The Justice Minister comments
 “The media in New Zealand have already made good progress in dealing with these challenges, for instance through the setting up of the Online Media Standards Authority. There is no pressing need for statutory or institutional change.”
Never fear, apparently, with Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss stating that
the Law Commission proposal will be kept in mind as an option should reform be necessary in the future. 
“The Government is well aware of the importance of fostering a well-functioning and independent fourth estate,” says Mr Foss. 
“While we’re not taking action now, I’d like to send a clear message that the Government expects the news media industry to continue to develop solutions to the regulatory difficulties presented by media using multiple technology platforms.”