26 Mar 2013

Single complaints body for new media recommended

10:31 pm on 26 March 2013

The Law Commission has recommended a single new authority be set up to govern news media standards.

The recommendation was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday morning.

The new body, provisionally called the News Media Standards Authority, would replace the Press Council, the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Online Media Standards Authority and adjudicate all complaints against news producers.

Commission president Grant Hammond says the review was prompted by concern about gaps in legal and ethical standards regarding news and current affairs.

The commission is recommending membership be voluntary and open to both traditional and new media, which includes web-based publishers.

Justice Minister Judith Collins says she will consider the idea.

Ms Collins says it is often difficult for the members of the public to know which of the three organisations they should go to with a complaint.

She says she will talk to interested parties, including media outlets, about how a single authority could work.

But Ms Collins says it's important the Government doesn't go overboard with any changes because the media plays a crucial role in a democracy.