No unified media regulator

Isaac Davidson at NZ Herald reports:

Justice Minister Judith Collins has given the New Zealand news media a vote of support by rejecting proposals for a single, independent media regulator which would have had the power to demand corrections and removal of news content.

Mrs Collins said that unlike the UK and Australia, there was no crisis of confidence in mainstream media in New Zealand and no pressing need for changes.

She said the Government would not establish a “one-stop-shop” media regulator – a merger of the existing Press Council, Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) and Online Media Standards Authority – but said it could be considered again if reform was called for.

My reading of this is that the Government thinks the status quo is working well enough, that a change wasn’t justified.

They are right that the status quo is working, and unlike the UK, there is no crisis or even anything close to it.

However I still thought the Law Commission model was worth pursuing, for two reasons:

  • It would get the Government out of media regulation, by moving broadcasters (for news purposes) from the Government appointed BSA to an independent regulator where board members are not appointed by Government
  • It would mean one regulator, instead of the three we have at the moment, which would be easier for those with complaints to use

I note the Government has not said the model proposed is unsuitable, so it may happen at some stage. But for now it seems the decision is to not fix it, as it isn’t broken.

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