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Deadline Approaching for Public Submissions on Broadcasting

Deadline Approaching for Public Submissions on Changes to Election Programmes Broadcasting Code

At 5:00pm on 22 November 2019, the period closes for public submissions regarding the changes BSA is proposing to the Election Programmes Code of Broadcasting Practice (Election Programmes Code).

Changes are being proposed to the standards and guidelines that apply to Election Programmes which are broadcast by or for political parties and candidates in the run-up to the 2020 General Election.

In consultation with broadcasters, the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has prepared amendments which aim to make the Election Programmes Code more user-friendly and clearer for broadcasters and members of the public. Guidelines have been introduced for each standard as well as changes to reflect legislative amendments to the Broadcasting Act 1989 and to achieve, where practical, consistency with equivalent standards overseen by other standards bodies (such as the Media Council and ASA).

BSA Chief Executive Belinda Moffat said: “The right to freedom of expression, and particularly political speech, is important in a democratic society. This is particularly so in the lead-up to a general election, when political parties and candidates are seeking to influence voters, and audiences are seeking information to enable them to make informed voting decisions.

“The Election Programmes Code sets standards for broadcasters to ensure that the exercise of political speech in Election Programmes does not cause harm. It is important therefore that the Code is clear about how the standards apply and we hope that the refreshed Code achieves this purpose. During an election period members of the public may complain to the BSA if they are concerned that an election programme does not meet the standards.”

The BSA is keen to hear from the public, academics and those involved in the election process to ensure the code is fit for purpose and reflects the values and expectations of our diverse New Zealand community.

Ms Moffat added: “The purpose of this public consultation is to invite submissions from a range of viewpoints so we can be confident the refreshed Election Programmes Code achieves its purpose and reflects the views of the New Zealand community as well as being user-friendly, clear and informative. The code is an important safeguard against misinformation during the election process.”

A copy of the draft refreshed code, and the consultation papers and details of how to make a submission are available at www.bsa.govt.nz. The BSA encourages all interested parties to provide their submissions before the 5:00pm on Friday 22 November 2019 deadline.

ENDS

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