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The Commission's Report, The News Media Meets 'New Media': Rights, Responsibilities and Regulation in the Digital Age (NZLC R128, 2013), was tabled in Parliament on 26 March 2013. Please see the links below to view a summary of the recommendations and to view the full Report in PDF and eBook form. You can view the Report online here.
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. Membership of the new body would be voluntary and open to both the traditional mainstream news media and the new media (e.g. news and current affairs bloggers and websites), provided they are willing to be accountable to the new standards body. The new body would draw on and strengthen the best features of the current platform-based complaints bodies (the Press Council, the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Online Media Standards Authority).
The Report recommends two specific statutory amendments once the new complaints body is established:
- an amendment to the Broadcasting Act 1989, to alter the jurisdiction of the Broadcasting Standards Authority;
- amendments to the Privacy Act 1993, the Electoral Act 1993, the Human Rights Act 1993 and the Fair Trading Act 1986 (that confer specific privileges on the news media) to align these statutes with media privileges in the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 - making conferral of the privileges conditional on membership of the new complaints body.
An appendix to the Report contains the Commission’s Ministerial Briefing to the Hon Judith Collins: Harmful Digital Communications: The Adequacy of the Current Sanctions and Remedies (August 2012), containing recommendations and a proposed Bill. This briefing recommended a range of measures to address the problems caused by seriously harmful personal online or digital attacks, including a new criminal offence and the establishment of a Communications Tribunal.
Additionally, the Law Commission commissioned independent research into public perceptions of (a) news media standards, accountability and complaints bodies; and (b) the occurrence of online speech harms. A summary of the research is available below.