Chapter 6 - Regulation of the media – a new regulator

Introduction

In the preceding chapter we argued that the traditional format-based models for regulating the news media are not well suited to the digital era. Instead we proposed to address the issues of regulatory parity through a new converged regulator.

Our current regulatory arrangements, based on traditional distinctions between print and broadcast media, are similar to those in the jurisdictions to which New Zealand traditionally compares itself – the United Kingdom, Australia and most of the provinces of Canada.160

By way of contrast, many other jurisdictions have one body, often self-regulatory, with responsibility for both print and broadcast news media.161

The growth of new media, the pressures of convergence, and concerns raised by the allegations of phone hacking that re-emerged in the United Kingdom in July 2011, have resulted in the establishment of a number of reviews and inquiries into media regulation in other jurisdictions. As noted earlier in this Issues Paper, there are two major reviews of media regulation underway in the United Kingdom, one of the regulatory frameworks supporting the communications sector,162 and the other, the Leveson Inquiry, to inquire into the culture, practices and ethics of the press.163

In Australia, the Convergence Review is considering the existing regulatory framework applying to media and communications services, to ascertain whether current regulation and policy frameworks remain appropriate and effective in a converging environment, and an independent inquiry is examining print and online media, focusing on ethics, regulation and the Australian Press Council.

Against this background of on-going change, we discuss a range of regulatory models for the news media, and then discuss a proposal for a new system of media regulation in New Zealand.

The Canadian broadcasting system is different as it is divided into public, private and community sectors. Regulation of broadcasting is divided between the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), a self-regulatory body that is the complaints resolution body for private radio and television stations and specialty services; and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which has statutory responsibility for the regulation and supervision of the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications systems. The CRTC hears appeals from decisions of the CBSC.

In 2007 the Review of the New Zealand Press Council indicated that 63% of press councils have a jurisdiction that incorporates print and broadcast media, including Algeria, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Spain (Cataluna), Québec, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, Ghana, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Malta, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Russia, Senegal, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Turkey and Washington State.

See < www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/telecommunications_and_online/8109.aspx >.

“PM statement on phone hacking” (13 July 2011) < www.number10.gov.uk/news/pm-statement-on-phone-hacking/ >.