-Who are the news media and what is their role in society?
-Should the news media continue to have access to special legal privileges to enable them to do their job? If so, who should qualify for these privileges and under what conditions?
-What standards should apply to the news media and how should they be held accountable to these standards?
-And what legal standards and accountabilities should apply to the thousands of ordinary New Zealanders who are not part of the news media but who make use of digital technology and the read/write web to publish and communicate publicly in a variety of mediums?
These are some of the challenging questions the Law Commission considers in its November 2011 Issues Paper: ‘The News Media Meets ???New Media???: rights, responsibilities and regulation in the digital age.’
The paper was prepared in response to a Government request for a review of the legal and regulatory environment in which New Zealand???s news media and other communicators are operating in the digital era.
It is important to stress that this is a preliminary paper designed to garner wide public debate and feedback on the scope of the problem and best solutions. We welcome submissions and comments on the questions and proposals contained in the paper.
Mind those “right & responsibilities.” Apart from noblesse oblige, responsibilities assessed by a third party make rights merely rewards for obedience.