Harmful Communications

As a public media organisation, RNZ welcomes robust feedback and seeks to have ongoing conversations with our audiences. 

But RNZ will not tolerate harmful communications - for example, abusive posts on social media, offensive comments and  harassment via email or text.

In early 2021, we changed the way we handled offensive communications. Before that, we - like many media - tended to accept this abuse as part of the job. Most offensive posts or emails were ignored or deleted.

Following feedback from our people and the public, we changed our approach. Plainly, no one at RNZ has to put up with abuse as part of their work, nor do other members of our audience.

One of the first steps will be to add formal and visible warnings on all our platforms so the public is aware of what will happen when boundaries are crossed.

On Facebook, we will proactively turn comments off on posts that may attract abusive comments. See below for the full Facebook comments policy. Comments may be deleted, and accounts banned or referred under the Harmful Digital Communications legislation.

For emails, texts, tweets, and other communications, people may receive a warning, be blocked, or referred to Netsafe or the police.


Our comments policy:  

Radio New Zealand (referred to in these rules as "we" or "us") wants to encourage free and frank discussion. We also want this site to be a safe place for people to share their stories. 

To achieve these objectives, we have developed these rules that apply to anything you post. By posting you agree to abide by these rules. 

Comments are post-moderated. This means they are not checked or edited by us before they appear on the site, and consequently places the onus on you to be mature, considered, caring and reasonable in what you write. 

RNZ may proactively disable comments on posts which may attract abusive or harmful comments, or when resources are required elsewhere.  

No one at RNZ has to put up with abuse as part of their work, nor do other members of our audience. We may issue a warning, but we reserve the right to delete comments, ban accounts, and repeated or egregious comments may be referred under the Harmful Digital Communications legislation. 

You can make a formal complaint here: rnz.co.nz/about/formalcomplaints 

Think before you post 
 We want people to feel safe and respected on our community forums. 

Think about your post before hitting the publish button. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later. 

Ask yourself: would this offend someone? Is it defamatory? How would you react if someone else wrote the same thing? 

Treat this forum like a shared community resource – a place to spread skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation. 

 We will remove anything that is obviously illegal, defamatory, ‘fake news’, or trolling the page or other commenters.  

Reflect our charter 
 The comments in our community should reflect the RNZ charter, in particular: 
(1) As an independent public service broadcaster, the public radio company’s purpose is to serve the public interest. 
(2) Freedom of thought and expression are foundations of democratic society and the public radio company as a public service broadcaster plays an essential role in exercising these freedoms. 
(3) The public radio company fosters a sense of national identity by contributing to tolerance and understanding, reflecting and promoting ethnic, cultural, and artistic diversity and expression. 
(4) The public radio company provides reliable, independent, and freely accessible news and information. 

Focus on the issue 
 No personal attacks, name calling, comments about someone's parentage, hate speech, or ad-hominem attacks. This applies to authors, people featured in stories and other commenters. Stick to the issues and discuss those. It might get heated, but the first person who mentions a notorious dictator loses. 
The topics discussed here matter to us and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said. 

Don’t plagiarise 
Comments must be your own work. You can link to relevant content elsewhere, and quote other people’s work with attribution, but be mindful of copyright. Don’t copy-paste indiscriminately. You continue to own the copyright in what you write (or the original owner does), but by submitting content to us, you agree that we can use it elsewhere on the RNZ.co.nz. 

Keep it polite 
Anything that could be taken as threatening, harassing, bullying, obscene, offensive, pornographic, sexist, racist, homophobic (or any other ~ist) is unacceptable and will be removed. 

Keep within the law 
Anything that is defamatory, in breach of copyright, or in contempt of court will be removed. You will be held accountable not just by us but also the courts for violating the aforementioned. 

Stay on topic 
Conversations ramble, but try not to wedge your favourite TV show into every discussion. By the same token, don’t “feed the trolls”. If you believe someone is being deliberately offensive or off-topic, flag the comment to the moderators and report it to Facebook.  

Don’t sell something 
 Any comments that are obviously commercial will be deleted, likewise anything that is advertising, lobbying for, or trying to convert someone to, a particular political view, religion, product or service. 

Alert us to poor behaviour 
With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police. 
 In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time.  
If you have ideas, criticism, complaints about the site or the story being discussed, or you want to report a glaring typo, email socialmedia@radionz.co.nz, or the author. 

Our right to remove posts 
We still reserve the right to remove any comments either seen by us or flagged by the community which break these rules. 


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