Taming the Wild West: a Framework for Regulating and Applying Broadcasting Standards to Internet Content in New Zealand
The role of the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) is to determine the areas where, and the extent to which, television and radio broadcasters' right to freedom of expression should give way to other interests that are highly valued in society. The BSA does this by applying the Codes of Broadcasting Practice, which contain standards relating to things such as good taste and decency, balance and accuracy in news and factual programmes, privacy and children's interests. Due to a combination of media convergence onto the Internet and outdated legislation, the BSA is finding itself caught in a techno-legal time gap, where it has no ability to deal with programming content provided by broadcasters via the Internet. In the not-too-distant future, the Internet will become the dominant platform of choice, both for broadcasters to provide programming content and for consumers to receive it. This dissertation examines the impact that the Internet has had on the modern media environment and the problems raised by the BSA's lack of jurisdiction to deal with programming content located on the websites of New Zealand-based broadcasters. To ensure that the BSA and the broadcasting standards regime in general does not become obsolete, this paper advocates for the BSA to be given express statutory jurisdiction to deal with complaints concerning programming content on New Zealand-based websites operated by Internet broadcasters.