Steven Price

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Media Minefield

Guide to NZ Media Law

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Bill of Rights Act

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When free speech creates disorder or hate

Monday, June 28th, 2021

“De-platforming”. It’s the free-speech zealot’s issue-du-jour. I’m looking at you, Damien Grant. It seems so exactly what cancel culture is. Don’t like the speech? Ban it. Except it’s not really a ban, is it? There is nothing to stop those poor begagged individuals from putting out press releases and YouTube videos, railing on social media, […]

Harmful Digital Communications Bill submission

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Introduction I am a barrister specialising in media law and a lecturer in media and privacy law at Victoria University of Wellington’s law school. I am also a blogger and occasional journalist. I am the author of a textbook for journalists called “Media Minefield”. I have dealt with, studied, and commented on many cases involving […]

Is Whale Oil a journalist?

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

More specifically, is Cameron Slater entitled to the same privilege to protect sources that other journalists have? As the NZ Herald reports, the owner/operator/author of NZ’s most widely read blog is being sued for defamation. The plaintiff has formally asked him whether he knows the name of his source. (You might have thought that the […]

One-stop-shop for media complaints – Law Commission

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

The NZ Law Commission has recommended that we scrap the Press Council, Broadcasting Standards Authority and nascent Online Media Standards Authority, and replace them with one body setting and policing news standards across the board. The Commission suggests we call it the “News Media Standards Authority” (NMSA). It would look more like the current Press […]

Unhealthy secrecy?

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

A hard call Was the coroner right to suppress the names of the health care workers involved in the tragic death of Zachary Gravatt of menigicoccal disease in 2009? After all, he found the hospital was swamped with swine flu victims and Zachary’s symptoms were very similar. He was given considerable care and attention, and […]

We don’t need no stinking press regulation

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

The Herald’s lawyer, Alan Ringwood, argues that we don’t need any statutory press regulation in NZ. Don’t listen to Levenson, he says. We don’t need to go there. (Full article here). I guess it’s not a news flash that the Herald’s lawyer would oppose statutory restrictions on the Herald. But I’m interested in his argument. […]

How to apply the Bill of Rights

Friday, July 27th, 2012

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (in the wake of several High Court decisions, and perhaps aware of some of the criticisms I made with Claudia Geiringer) commissioned me to provide some advice on how the Bill of Rights applies to them and how they can practically integrate it into their decision-making. They have posted my paper […]


Saturday, April 7th, 2012

It seems that pretty much all the discussion about copyright these days is about the new online infringement laws. But I want to talk about another copyright issue that I think poses, on paper anyway, a bigger threat to free speech: the surprisingly narrow reach of our fair dealing defences. I say “on paper” because […]

Offensive offence

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

A few years back, the censor banned this T-shirt (scroll down) depicting a masturbating woman and the words “Jesus is a cunt”. I questioned the ban. Now the retailer who sold the T-shirts has been convicted for possessing them. I note that this offence also applies to everyone who owns such a T-shirt, whether they wear it […]

Teapot pours out

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Someone’s put the teapot tape online. That’s the conversation between the PM and ACT candidate John Banks that cameraman Bradley Ambrose said he inadvertently recorded, during the most covered cuppa in NZ history. The media, and even many bloggers, seem hesitant about linking to it. I’m not. Here’s why. Put aside the question of whether […]

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