Download the issues paper or a summary here at the NZ Law Commission website.

The News Media meets ‘New Media’: Rights, Responsibilities and Regulation in the Digital Age
Published 12 Dec 2011

The Law Commission is seeking New Zealander’s views on the standards and accountabilities which should apply to the news media and citizen publishers in the digital age. The Commission’s latest Issues Paper, The news media meets ‘new media’: rights, responsibilities and regulation in the digital age, published today, contains a number of preliminary proposals for amendments to speech laws and changes to the regulatory systems for news media.

The paper is divided into two parts: Part 1 deals with the first two legs of the Commission’s terms of reference which focus on the news media and how news media should be defined for legal purposes, and how they might be regulated in the era of convergence. Chapter 4 of the paper sets out the principles underpinning the Commission’s preliminary proposals with respect to the news media. Chapter 6 details preliminary proposal for a new independent news media regulator.

Part 2 of the paper deals with the larger legal framework which governs all speech / communication , irrespective of the medium or who is communicating. It looks at the type of problems which are emerging within the web environment, including issues like cyber-bullying, harassment and defamation in social media, and asks whether the law can be better adapted to this new publishing environment and whether the courts are the best forum for resolving these sorts of disputes between free speech and rights to privacy, reputation etc. Chapters 7 and 8 are the relevant chapters.

It is important to stress that this is a preliminary paper designed to garner wide public debate and feedback on the scope of the problem and best solutions. We welcome submissions and comments on the questions and proposals contained in the paper. These can be made online or by mail up until March 12 2011. The Commission will also be hosting online forums on the paper in February 2012.

The paper will be followed by a Final Report and recommendations to government in late 2012.