Media regulation: Time to shut up and get on with it.

A decade ago this month, the Law Commission produced a fit-for-purpose blueprint for  regulation of New Zealand news media by a single body. The News Media Standards Authority did not happen and today we are no closer to changing oversight that is well past its use-by date.

The commission’s recommendations were set out in a report titled The News Media Meets ‘New Media’: Rights, responsibilities, and regulation in the digital age, produced by a team led by eminent media law expert Professor John Burrows.

The foreword to the report stated it was about how the law should respond to a challenge that had been articulated by then Chief Government Scientist, Sir Peter Gluckman. In an address on the impact of technology on adolescents, Sir Peter had expressed the view that the internet and digital technology have brought about the most profound change in how humans communicate since our species first acquired speech.

One might have thought that his perspective, and the report’s call for fundamental changes to media regulation, would have been an urgent wake-up call. Continue reading “Media regulation: Time to shut up and get on with it.”

Our media keep buggering on (apologies to Winston Churchill)

I have just read a brilliant essay by Irish journalist and intellectual Fintan O’Toole about the decline of the British identity. I see strong parallels with what is happening to New Zealand media.

In the essay, published by Foreign Affairs magazine, O’Toole puts context around the decline of Britain as a world power, the rising nationalism of the non-English elements of the United Kingdom, and the effects of Brexit. All of this has contributed to ‘Britishness’ losing its lustre.

“The United Kingdom created a beta version of democracy in the eighteenth century: innovative and progressive in its day but long since surpassed by newer models,” O’Toole wrote. “The country has, however, been extremely reluctant to abandon even the most egregious anachronisms. The biggest transformation in its governance was joining the European Union, and that has been reversed. It now has to make a momentous and existential choice—between a radically reimagined United Kingdom and a stubborn adherence to KBO [a Churchillian phrase: ‘keep buggering on’]. If it chooses the latter, it will muddle on toward its own extinction. Continue reading “Our media keep buggering on (apologies to Winston Churchill)”