Tech Liberty NZ Defending civil liberties in the digital age

Government looking at further regulation of speech on the Internet

Posted on October 14, 2010

Justice Minister Simon Power claims that "new media" on the Internet is a "wild west" that lacks professional or ethical standards. He says:

Issues I’m concerned about include how trials can be prejudiced by information posted on websites and seen by jurors, real-time online streaming of court cases, breaches of court suppression orders, and re-publication of a libel.

He has asked the Law Commission to review whether current regulations are good enough. This is the same Law Commission that believes that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) should have a responsibility to close down websites and shutdown webservers if they are hosting material that might be in breach of a suppression order.

The report will focus on whether the two existing industry bodies, the Broadcasting Standards Authority and Press Council, could be used to regulate "new media", and whether existing criminal and civil remedies and penalties are appropriate.

These is no mention in the press release of the freedom of expression guaranteed to New Zealanders in the Bill of Rights Act. Nor is there any recognition that many forms of old media such as leaflets, posters and books are also unregulated.

An issues paper is expected by December 2012.

About Thomas Beagle

Co-founder and spokesperson for Tech Liberty
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