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BSA strategic refresh puts the spotlight on harm

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has today published its new strategic framework for 2019/20, unveiling a refreshed vision statement with an increased focus on education and engagement, with both broadcasters and the public.

The BSA’s new vision statement is Freedom in Broadcasting without Harm.

“The refreshed strategic framework reflects the BSA’s role in supporting a broadcasting standards framework designed to keep New Zealanders connected and safe,” explains Chair, Judge Bill Hastings. In dealing with complaints about broadcast content, the BSA considers whether a broadcast has caused harm to a degree that justifies limiting the right to freedom of expression. The right to freedom of expression is an important right, for both broadcasters to broadcast and audiences to receive, but comes with responsibilities. The standards impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right and are designed to protect New Zealanders from harm.

“Our overarching goal is that New Zealanders can confidently engage with broadcast content that does not cause harm”, says Judge Hastings. When working effectively, the standards system does not unduly restrict broadcasters’ rights to freedom of expression, and enables audiences to safely make informed decisions about what they and children in their care watch and listen to.

“Equally important is our role in engaging with the public to promote the standards system, which enables audiences to understand the tools that are available to them to manage content in their homes,” Judge Hastings says. This is particularly important for tamariki and rangatahi, and their parents and caregivers, who are faced with navigating the wide range of digital content now available.

“We intend to increase our guidance work with broadcasters to ensure they properly classify and warn audiences about the content they choose to watch. We will also increase our engagement with the public to enable audiences to effectively use these protections with particular focus on supporting children and young people, as well as ensuring that our services are known by and accessible to our diverse communities.”

The BSA’s Statement of Performance Expectations released today explains how the BSA intends to deliver on this strategy.

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