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New Media Review

New Media Review

A strong commitment to continuing press freedoms contained in the Law Commission review on news media in the digital age has been welcomed by the Newspaper Publishers’ Association.

The news media performs a vital role in a democracy and has to be free of political interference, NPA president Michael Muir said.

A key proposal in the commission’s paper released today is the suggested replacement of the Press Council and the Broadcasting Standards Authority with a new converged media regulator.

“The current Press Council has served the New Zealand public well and continues to be supported by the print media industry,” Mr Muir said.

“It is a self-regulatory model that is independent of both the State and the media and that is a good thing.

“It is funded by the industry and it has proved to be an inexpensive, effective and timely means of giving redress to those who feel they have been unfairly treated

“We note that the proposed wider body would be based pretty much on the Press Council model.

“It would remain independent of government and would continue to have a majority of public members We would have no argument with that, if there is to be change.”

There has been widespread debate around containing the unrulier elements of the internet, Mr Muir said.

“There is a lot more discussion to be had, and we are keen to talk about the proposed model with any interested parties. But generally we are pleased to see that the commission has adopted our view that adopting a code of ethics and being subject to a complaints procedure, as the mainstream do, are the measures of whether new media – bloggers and the like – should enjoy the rights of mainstream media.

“Free speech is not absolute. We agree that with the legal rights of all media – mainstream or new media – come responsibilities.”


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