Regulatory Gaps and the New Media

Start date
13 October 2010
04 473 3453
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Project Overview

The Commission has undertaken a review of the current regulatory environment for the news media with respect to its adequacy in catering for new and emerging forms of news media – sometimes referred to as the “new media”.

 The 3 questions posed by the project’s terms of reference were first discussed in the Issues Paper (December 2011) and in online forums.

 In May 2012, the Minister responsible for the Law Commission, the Hon Judith Collins, asked the Law Commission to expedite its recommendations relating to the third question – namely the adequacy of the sanctions and remedies available for harmful digital communication. The Commission provided a Ministerial Briefing, Harmful Digital Communications: The Adequacy of the Current Sanctions and Remedies (August 2012) containing recommendations and a proposed Bill.

 The Commission then returned to the first two questions relating to the news media in its final Report The News Media Meets ‘New Media’: Rights, Responsibilities and Regulation in the Digital Age (NZLC R128, 2013).

 The Report recommends a new complaints body be set up to provide New Zealanders with a consistent set of news media standards and a one-stop-shop for adjudicating complaints across all news producers.

 The project was led by media law expert, Professor John Burrows. He was assisted by senior researcher and policy advisor, and former editor, Cate Honoré Brett, and other legal and policy advisers at the Commission.

 The summary of independent research into public attitudes commissioned by the Law Commission for the Report is available here.

Terms of Reference 
  1. How to define news media for the purposes of the law.
  2. Whether and to what extent the jurisdiction of the Broadcasting Standards Authority and/ or the Press Council should be extended to cover currently unregulated news media and, if so, what legislative changes would be required to achieve this end.
  3. Whether then existing criminal and civil remedies for wrongs such as defamation, harassment, breach of confidence and privacy are effective in the new media environment and if not whether alternative remedies may be available.