New Zealand’s proposed extension of media legal privileges to Web 2.0 media

Jonathan Barrett


Following certain bloggers’ flagrant challenges to the judicial power to suppress trial information, New Zealand’s Minister of Justice described cyberspace as “something of a Wild West” and charged the New Zealand Law Commission (NZLC) with investigating the regulation of media in the Web 2.0 era. The NZLC has released an issues paper proposing changes that include a general extension of traditional media privileges to qualifying Web 2.0 media. Given the standing of the NZLC, the depth of its analysis and involvement of interested parties, it is expected that these recommendations will be legislated.

Focusing on media privileges in relation to court access, this comment outlines the background to the NZLC’s recommendations and discusses their implications in tandem with related statutory amendments. It is concluded that, while the recommendations represent a step towards a broader acceptance of the role of bloggers and other Web 2.0 media in civil society, few people are likely to be affected. Furthermore, if the New Zealand sector of cyberspace really is a “Wild West”, the recommendations will do little to tame it.

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