Law Commission proposes new media watchdog
Mon, 12 Dec 2011 5:23a.m.
The Law Commission says malicious use of the internet as a publishing platform is causing harm and a new regulator for media and Communications Tribunal may fix it.
The commission released an issues paper on Monday which floats the idea of a new Communications Tribunal and a new regulator to replace the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Press Council.
The regulator will be independent of Government and the news media, while the tribunal will operate at a lower level to courts and can grant takedown orders when content breaches the law and causes serious harm.
Commissioner John Burrows told NZ Newswire that the 217-page paper, titled The News Media Meets New Media, traverses a complicated topic of fundamental importance.
The report says young people are particularly vulnerable given the all-pervasive nature of social networking in their lives but problems such as cyber harassment are not confined to them.
"What we're doing is floating ideas. Sometimes there are alternative options. We want to know in the next few months what the users of the media or the public think of it," Professor Burrows said.
Submissions are due by March 12 and a final report next year will make recommendations.
The paper is not a response to bad behaviour and it was initiated before media inquiries in the UK and Australia.
Instead, it is seen as a response to "a general query really on all the new media and how it relates to the traditional media and how in this day and age you define what the news media really is", Prof Burrows said.
In general the New Zealand media behaves better than overseas counterparts, he said.
Publishers themselves will be responsible for trying to resolve complaints in the first instance. The regulator will adjudicate only complaints not satisfactorily resolved between the complainant and the publisher.
The report floats an option of compulsory membership for some categories of news publishers.
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13/12/2011 9:34:11 a.m.
i wonder if they realise that the biggest cause of 'harm' using the internet is large entities achieving regulatory capture of such bodies and then abusing the system to harass individuals?
government agencies are the worst at this, followed by (and/or at the behest of) corporations.
12/12/2011 8:35:41 p.m.
Proud NZer wrote:
We have a scared government.They used the media to shut down political opinion that was inconvenient to them.Now they want to take the next step.Internet has been a source of exchange of opinions and it was freely used by small political parties to have their say in the absence of an unbiased,independent and fair mainstram media.These restrictions and threats are a real threat our democratic values or what is left of it.
12/12/2011 8:00:36 p.m.
Ministry of Justice wrote:
Awful idea. Has anything good ever come from the law commission?
Surely the internet is covered by existing civil and criminal law. There is no need for regulation.
What NZ needs is a properly restrained government not more restraints on citizens.
12/12/2011 2:47:37 p.m.
No, this is another stupid idea. You are allowed to express freely on the internet. It's a right, not a privilege. This is exactly like how the government is trying to control the growing of food, the storing of seeds and the distribution of these as well. Even when torrent downloads were made illegal by National, it was against human rights to do so.
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