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Public Views Sought On Revised Broadcasting Standards Codebook

Public views are being sought on proposed changes to standards for TV and radio programmes to ensure they remain fit for today’s media and regulatory environment.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) is comprehensively reviewing the Broadcasting Standards Codebook for the first time since 2016. In consultation with broadcasters and other stakeholders, it has drawn up proposed changes which seek to make the Codebook simpler, clearer and more user-friendly for broadcasters and audiences.

The BSA is now inviting the public to have its say before changes are introduced.

Key proposed changes include:

  • Updating the introduction including to reflect the current environment.
  • Combining the three existing codes for Pay TV, Free-to-air TV and Radio into one simplified code.
  • Streamlining and combining some standards which cover related issues.
  • Updating the discrimination and denigration standard guidelines to clarify its application to content which reinforces negative stereotypes.
  • Incorporating an obligation to correct material errors of fact within the accuracy standard.
  • Updating the guidelines/commentary on how the standards apply, shaped by past BSA decisions and, in the case of privacy standard guidelines, legal developments.
  • Refreshing the language to make the Codebook easier to understand.
  • Updating guidance on the complaints process to clarify the requirements for a formal complaint (and consequently the types of complaints broadcasters may treat as feedback only).

BSA Chief Executive Glen Scanlon said the review sought to ensure the Codebook continued to meet the needs of New Zealand’s diverse society in a fast-changing media and regulatory context.

“Freedom of expression is an essential element of a healthy democracy and determining the types and level of harm that justify limiting this right is at the heart of broadcasting standards.

“Through this public consultation we’re keen to hear from people with a range of views so we can be sure the revised Code reflects the evolving values and attitudes of our diverse community,” Mr Scanlon said.

A copy of the draft revised Codebook, the consultation paper and details on how to make a submission are available on the BSA website. Submissions can be made online, sent by email to or by post to: BSA, PO Box 9213, Wellington 6141.

Submissions are due by 5:00pm on 8 March 2022.

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