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A Message From The Chair Of The Broadcasting Standards Authority – Covid 19

The Broadcasting Standards Authority confirms that we will continue to operate during these difficult times. We recognize the important role that broadcasters play, and our role in supporting broadcasters to fulfil the standards expected of them.

We will continue to deliver our services. We will continue to receive and determine complaints. We will continue to provide guidance on the application of standards. We will implement the new timebands and classifications on Free-to-air television as part of our work to keep viewers safe. We will work with broadcasters so that members of the public can be assured that the codes of broadcasting standards and ethical conduct in broadcasting will be maintained. We will, however, be delivering our services in different ways. Our exceptionally able staff will be working from home for the time being, and the Authority will hold its meetings by way of audiovisual links as we navigate our way through this pandemic. We may not be able to get through things as efficiently as before, but we will do our best. We are applying a priority system to complaints so that we deal with the issues which present the greatest risk of harm to our community first.

It is in times such as these that maintaining the freedom of expression and accurate, fair and balanced factual reporting takes on greater significance.

Many children will be at home when they would otherwise be at school. We have asked broadcasters to be aware of the need to protect children from harmful content and of the need to take care when programming daytime viewing when schools are closed. Television and radio will provide a rich source of information and entertainment. It is however important that parents and caregivers keep an eye on what their children are watching and listening to if they are at home during the day.

We expect that more people will be watching and listening to broadcasts in the short to medium term. Be assured that we will work with broadcasters to ensure our standards system continues to prevent harm to New Zealanders whilst ensuring the freedom of expression during the difficult times ahead.

We will get through this. Kia kaha.

Judge Bill Hastings

Chair, BSA

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