Steven Price

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Media Minefield


Guide to NZ Media Law

Official Information Act

Official Information Act


Bill of Rights Act

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About me

I’m a barrister specialising in media law, practising in Wellington.

You might have heard me commenting on legal issues in the media. You probably thought to yourself, “what a wise and reasonable fellow”. Many, many people say that to me.

After getting a first class honours degree in law from Victoria University of Wellington, I cut my teeth as one of Fair Go’s lawyers. After about three years, I studied at the University of California at Berkeley and obtained a Masters degree in Journalism, and have since done a range of (mostly freelance) journalism, so I’ve got training and experience on both sides of the journalistic fence.

More recently, I’ve given legal advice on Nicky Hager’s last five books and was involved in his successful legal challenge to the Police raid on his house following the publication of Dirty Politics. I also helped Nicky fend off an attempt by Cameron Slater to get at his source material using the Privacy Act. Before that, I also represented him when Don Brash got an injunction that covered The Hollow Men, and in his subsequent defamation stoush with Australian political consultants Crosby Textor.

I represented Margaret Harkema in her successful broadcasting standards claim against a series of Campbell Live shows about her, and in her subsequent defamation settlement, which included a prime-time apology three nights in a  row on TV3 and a payment of damages.

In 2006 I managed to persuade the Court of Appeal to un-ban Anne Hunt’s book “Broken Silence”. In more recent years, I  have represented the Ministry of Health in its successful broadcasting standards complaints against TV3’s Qantas-award winning documentary “Let Us Spray”. I acted for Minister of Health David Cunliffe in a complaint against TVNZ’s Close Up programme that was upheld, and I represented several Coromandel councillors in their successful broadcasting standards complaints against Kool FM. On the other side of the fence, I’ve also provided advice to television and radio broadcasters in successful High Court appeals, including the appeals over the TV programmes Hung and the Sunday current affairs doco on the Aramoana massacre. I’ve also successfully argued cases before the Press Council, including one in which the NZ Herald was forced to publish a front-page correction. I have also frequently acted for defendants and plaintiffs in defamation cases. In 2010, I was one of Valerie Morse’s lawyers in her successful Supreme Court appeal of her conviction for offensive behaviour when she burned a flag during a protest.

You can find out about my professional services here.

I’ve written a book called Media Minefield to help people understand the decisions of the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Press Council, and the laws of defamation, privacy, contempt of court, breach of confidence and trespass.

Find out more, including how you can buy copies (it would make a fine birthday present) here.

I’m also an adjunct lecturer in media law at Victoria University of Wellington’s law school. A few years ago, I was the law school’s Fellow in Law and Journalism, and carried out research into the operation of the Official Information Act. I concluded that it works pretty well until you start asking for something that’s politically sensitive. You can find it here.

 

Contact details

Ph 04 463 6336 (work)

Fax 04 463 6365

Mobile 022 026 2997

Email: steven.price@vuw.ac.nz

Address:

School of Law

Victoria University of Wellington

PO Box 600

Wellington