No changes to media regulatory landscape

Judith Collins has decided to park the recommendations from the Law Commission for amending the regulatory regime for media.

Justice Minister Judith Collins has given the New Zealand news media a vote of support by rejecting proposals for a single, independent media regulator which would have had the power to demand corrections and removal of news content.

Mrs Collins said that unlike the UK and Australia, there was no crisis of confidence in mainstream media in New Zealand and no pressing need for changes.

She said the Government would not establish a “one-stop-shop” media regulator – a merger of the existing Press Council, Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) and Online Media Standards Authority – but said it could be considered again if reform was called for.  

The idea had been proposed by the Law Commission after a 2-year investigation into news media in the digital age, which found there was an absence of accountability for new media and inconsistent standards for broadcast, print and online news.

While broadcast news faced statutory standards and sanctions, the same content accessed online or on an online app was not subject to the same standards, or any standards at all.

I thought many of the Law Commission’s ideas had merit, particularly how new media was dealt with. For now the status quo will remain.

The Press Council is seriously going to have to review how it operates.

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