InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) welcomes today’s recommendation from the Law Commission that an independent News Media Standards Authority be established encompassing both traditional and ‘new’ media.
The new body would define news media standards to be applied to all types of publishers seeking to access the traditional privileges of being part of the news media. These standards would apply regardless of how they publish, whether online or off. This would include broadcast media such as print, radio and television, and web-based media such as Bloggers.
The proposed framework would be voluntary: if organisations wanted the benefits of being classed as media, they would need to accept the responsibilities associated with being covered by the new Authority.
InternetNZ spokesperson Susan Chalmers says it is pleasing to see that the Law Commission has recognised that regulation across media should be principles-based and technology-neutral.
The line between old media and new media has blurred almost beyond recognition. Traditional media and ‘new’ media can and do co-exist. The marriage of traditional media with Internet-based text, audio and visual communication has spawned a dazzling array of new media forms, with the Internet having well and truly levelled the playing field for news content.
"The Law Commission’s recommendation is based on the reality of a converged environment. It is key that we begin to address how the Internet is challenging regulatory frameworks in New Zealand. Updating the framework for the news media sector is a great first step," says Chalmers.
InternetNZ supports the independence of the proposed new body and the Law Commission’s recommendation that a review of the entertainment sector is also undertaken. InternetNZ also supports the voluntary nature of the new regulatory regime, noting that this is in line with its submissions to the Law Commission in response to the issues paper that led to today’s proposals.
“These recommendations are in keeping with the general direction of updating regulatory frameworks to take account of the Internet environment,” she says.