Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Proposal for single media watchdog rejected by Government

Justice Minister Judith Collins says there is no pressing need for a single media watchdog. File photo / Mark Mitchell
Justice Minister Judith Collins says there is no pressing need for a single media watchdog. File photo / Mark Mitchell

A Law Commission proposal for a single, independent watchdog for broadcasting, print, and online news has been rejected by the Government.

Justice Minister Judith Collins said the Government had decided not to establish a "one-stop-shop'' media regulator, which would have merged the existing Press Council, Broadcasting Standards Authority and Online Media Standards Authority.

Ms Collins said the Law Commission's review, unlike reviews in the UK and Australia, was not prompted by a crisis in confidence in mainstream media, and there was no pressing need for changes.

"We expect that print and online media outlets will continue to strengthen their self-regulation while the Broadcasting Standards Authority will retain its responsibility for TV and radio under the Broadcasting Act.''

The commission's recommendation followed a two-and-a-half-year investigation into the challenges created by the proliferation of news sites and aggregators online, and the increasing crossover between traditional broadcast and print media.

It found that there was an absence of accountability for new media, and a lack of regulatory parity between print and broadcast media.

While broadcast news was subject to statutory standards and sanctions, content accessed on-demand or on an online app was not subject to the same standards, or any standards at all.

Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss said that the commission's recommendation would be kept in mind in case reform was required in future.

He said that while no action was being taken now, he wanted to send a clear message that Government expected the media industry to continue to develop solutions to the regulatory difficulties created by the use of multiple platforms to disseminate news.

- NZ Herald

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