Steven Price

My book

Media Minefield


Guide to NZ Media Law

Official Information Act

Official Information Act


Bill of Rights Act

Media law resources

Feeds (RSS)


« | Main | »

No one-stop media regulator

By Steven | October 2, 2013

The good news, for the Law Commission: the government thinks the Commission’s report on media regulation –  recommending the establishment of a one-stop media complaints body serving print, broadcast and online platforms – is “excellent”.

The bad news: the government has rejected that recommendation.

I summarised the Commission’s proposal in an earlier post. In short, the idea was for the creation of an independent media regulator – the News Media Standards Authority – that could draw up codes of ethics and receive complaints about news media misbehaviour. There would be a single port of call for complainants whatever the delivery platform, replacing the increasingly unsustainable mishmash of existing complaints bodies – one for broadcasting, one for print, and a new one for online broadcasters.

Membership would be voluntary. Anyone regularly delivering news or news commentary to a public audience could join (including some bloggers). They would then receive various legal privileges, such as rights of access when courts  were closed, and source protection under the Evidence Act.

This proposal was generally reasonably warmly received by the media.

Why did the government reject it? It gives a series of reasons. There’s no crisis of confidence in the media here. The proposal would require “extensive legislative change”. Some media might not join. It would still leave the problematic category of “entertainment” programmes. Are we really ready to let go of statutory control of broadcasting? “Careful consideration” is needed before stripping non-members of rights such as immunity from the Privacy Act. We’re regulating about harmful cyber communications shortly – let’s see how that works out. And let’s wait and see what other countries do.

There’s room for some disagreement here. In particular, the government several times talks about careful consideration being needed before significant changes are made. This is rather insulting to the Law Commission, whose report contained oodles of careful consideration of the changes they recommended.

What’s more it’s not entirely clear that the government itself has carefully considered the Commission’s recommendations. Twice the government says that the Commission proposed doing away with the balance standard. It didn’t (though it did suggest that balance was a standard which may not be needed for some news formats, such as blogging).

And the legislative changes recommended (essentially some tweaks to the definition of news media where it appears on the statute book, and the repeal of a big chunk of the Broadcasting Act) are not particularly extensive ones. It’s true that if some of the big media organisations did not join the NMSA, then the regime would probably be doomed. But given that it’s essentially a self-regulatory regime, and would be likely to be replaced with a full-blown statutory one if it didn’t work out, this would involve some spectacular foot-shooting by the media.

Finally, the Commission spends some time making the case that the distinction between news and entertainment, while tricky (consider, for example, reality television), is ultimately workable.

But my main objection to the government’s response is how short-sighted it is. Our existing patchwork system is rapidly passing its use-by date. 

At the moment, it’s really not clear who counts as the news media for the purposes, for example, of the Privacy Act, the Evidence Act, and court access privileges. That’s likely to lead to inconsistencies and confusion and probably litigation. Why not clear up now whether reality TV producers are subject to the Privacy Act. Why not clarify who gets exemptions from Fair Trading Act obligations concerning misleading and deceptive conduct? One pothole waiting for an unwary traveller: the fact that the Fair Trading Act’s exemption for the media may not apply to online publications (is Stuff a “periodical publication published at intervals not exceeding 40 days”?), and plainly doesn’t apply to downloaded news clips and programmes – because these are not “broadcasts” under the Broadcasting Act.

Are the Press Council’s rules really geared to the increasing amount of video newspapers publish online? There’s no power to order a takedown of, for example, footage of a child being bullied.

That raises another point. The Press Council’s standards differ from the Broadcasting Standards Authority’s ones. The Online Media Standards Authority’s differ again. If identical videos are posted on a newspaper’s website, a broadcaster’s website, and broadcast on television, complainants may have to go to different bodies, make different arguments, and receive different outcomes and remedies. That seems insane.

Still, it now seems that the media will be subject to the new cyber-harrassment regime. The Commission had proposed that NMSA members be excluded. Being subject to that regime may come as a shock to the media. But perhaps they will be exempted if they belong to one or more of the existing regimes.

We also have the rather silly situation where Sky TV is subject to a significantly more lenient set of standards in its news and current affairs shows than TVNZ or TV3.

What about the role of the Bill of Rights? NMSA would presumably have led to a fairly rigorous and standardised approach to free expression issues. At the moment, the BSA’s approach differs markedly from the Press Council’s.

The complaints  procedures differ too. For instance, you can’t appeal a Press Council decision, but you can appeal a BSA decision to the courts, and OMSA has  its own appeal body. The Press Council can insist that you forego your right to sue as a precondition for hearing your complaint. The BSA can’t. The Press Council now conducts informal attempts to mediate complaints. The BSA doesn’t.

And currently, there is no standards regime for bloggers to sign up to.

What about mobile phones? When streaming news and current affairs content, they are probably vehicles for broadcasts. Should the originators of such content be subject to broadcasting standards?

In short, the proliferation of platforms is set to create more and more problems for complainants, and the differences between them look increasingly unjustified, confusing, or just silly. But the government hasn’t mentioned any of this in its response to the Law Commission. Instead, it has passed up an opportunity to fix up what even the media agrees is an untenable system. That strikes me as irresponsible.

Topics: Broadcasting Standards Authority, Future of journalism, Internet issues, Media ethics, Press Council | 41 Comments »

41 Responses to “No one-stop media regulator”

  1. Presley Says:
    May 29th, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Here you can find 58086 more Info on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  2. live draw hk Says:
    June 12th, 2020 at 5:13 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  3. How to lose weight Says:
    July 20th, 2020 at 7:26 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  4. Houston Energy Plans Says:
    August 4th, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] There you can find 74582 additional Info on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  5. 출장걸 Says:
    August 8th, 2020 at 6:10 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  6. Dylan Sellers Says:
    August 15th, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  7. naked girls Says:
    August 29th, 2020 at 12:02 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Information on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  8. Christian Louboutin Crepe Satin Pumps Purple replica.php Says:
    September 2nd, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] There you will find 67636 more Info on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  9. go to link Says:
    September 9th, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Here you can find 62415 additional Information to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  10. w88 Says:
    September 22nd, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Here you will find 14771 additional Info on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  11. immediate edge review Says:
    September 29th, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Here you will find 84452 more Information on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  12. Immediate Edge Review 2020 Says:
    September 30th, 2020 at 2:12 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Info on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  13. mơ thấy con cá đánh đề con gì Says:
    October 8th, 2020 at 2:27 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Information to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  14. Bettwäsche in Übergröße bestellen Bassetti Says:
    October 21st, 2020 at 1:24 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  15. hit estate 2021 italiane Says:
    October 31st, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Info here to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  16. mơ thấy bị bắn Says:
    November 5th, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More Information here on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  17. best cvv shop 2020 Says:
    November 17th, 2020 at 4:20 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Information here on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  18. DevOps assessment services Says:
    December 2nd, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Information to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  19. earthlink web hosting Says:
    December 19th, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] There you can find 53863 additional Info to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  20. buy dumps shop & credit cards with cvv2 Says:
    December 19th, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  21. mơ thấy đi chợ Says:
    December 20th, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  22. Regression testing Says:
    December 22nd, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Information to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  23. buy weed online Says:
    December 22nd, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  24. Anna Says:
    December 29th, 2020 at 12:28 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Info to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  25. https://library.kiu.ac.ug/ Says:
    December 29th, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Information on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  26. why should buy natural looking human hair wigs for black women cheap Says:
    December 30th, 2020 at 2:42 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  27. california cornhole Says:
    January 1st, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Info on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  28. những cách tỏ tình lãng mạn Says:
    January 6th, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  29. bí kíp giữ chồng Says:
    January 7th, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  30. người yêu không tôn trọng mình Says:
    January 7th, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Information to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  31. Olympus VN 7200 manuals Says:
    January 23rd, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Info to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  32. best software test automation tools Says:
    February 8th, 2021 at 6:07 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  33. Setting the Pace Says:
    February 27th, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Here you can find 96364 additional Info on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  34. ดูบอลออนไลน์ Says:
    May 2nd, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  35. slot oyna Says:
    May 20th, 2021 at 8:58 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] There you will find 59919 additional Information to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  36. deneme bonusu veren siteler Says:
    May 20th, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More Information here on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  37. www.sellswatches.com Says:
    May 21st, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More Info here to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  38. microsoft exchange hosting fiyat Says:
    June 27th, 2021 at 10:13 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  39. best dumps vendor Says:
    July 8th, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Information to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  40. Ventilatoare industriale Says:
    July 19th, 2021 at 4:24 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

  41. cc dumps shop Says:
    September 5th, 2021 at 7:41 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=617 […]

Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment.