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InternetNZ to convene public workshops on New Media Bill

InternetNZ to convene free public workshops on New Media Bill

Media release - 24 August 2012

The Law Commission’s recently-released draft Communications (New Media) Bill will go under the microscope next month in free public workshops convened by InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc).

Workshops will be held in Wellington on 17 September and Auckland on 18 September. Those interested in attending are asked to email rsvp@internetnz.net.nz.

Colloquially known as the ‘Cyber-bullying Bill’, the draft legislation aims to mitigate harm caused to individuals by electronic communications including social media and text messaging.

InternetNZ Policy Lead Susan Chalmers says the draft legislation has already proven controversial and hopes the workshops will draw a diverse group of stakeholders to engage in an informed discussion.

The workshops will begin with a conversation on the policy objectives of the Law Commission's proposal before taking a good look at the language of the draft bill, its proposed communications principles, approved agency and Tribunal.

The Law Commission has laid out real harms from cyber-bullying and ways to address this keeping in mind the realities of the Internet. However, Chalmers says the Law Commission's proposals, if implemented, could introduce a host of unintended consequences down the line. The proposed Tribunal, for example, will have the power to issue takedown orders to ISPs and website hosts, yet there has been no real discussion of what the burden of these orders on Internet intermediaries will be.

There is also a valid free speech concern with the proposal, she says. “What, for example, differentiates a criticism or simple name-calling from a harmful digital communication? The workshop will examine these and other issues”.

The proposals could affect a broad range of stakeholders, including individuals, schools, Internet Service Providers, domain name registrars, website hosts, search engines and social media websites. Many different organisations stand to play some role under the proposed bill, says Chalmers.

Workshop details:

Monday, 17 September
Civic Suites, Town Hall
1pm – 5pm

Tuesday, 18 September
Limelight Room, Aotea Centre
1pm – 5pm

Please email rsvp@internetnz.net.nz with your name and in which city you’ll attend.

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