A new media regulator independent of both government and industry gets the thumbs up from police, while major publishers are pushing for self regulation.
The Law Commission has an issues paper out on what to do about regulating what one publisher refers to as the global tsunami of sources of information on new devices.
Currently the New Zealand Press Council, which was voluntarily established by newspaper publishers in 1973, regulates newspapers. The Broadcasting Standards Authority is bound by statute but only covers radio and television broadcasts and not web content.
In submissions to the commission, police see a role in the future for "a distinct type of publisher, the news media", but says new media have to be accountable and self-regulation is insufficient for social media.
Fairfax Media says that existing laws have coped well and the Press Council is efficient.
"A statutory regulator forced on the industry is not the correct path in the first instance, we believe," Paul Thompson, group chief executive says.
A voluntary system with inducements for participation is a better option, he says.
APN News & Media, publisher of The New Zealand Herald, favours a self regulation model, with separate print and broadcasting bodies or a new combined entity.
It wants the Press Council to be an incorporated society with a more exacting code of standards but says the current dual function of being an appeal body and advocate for press freedom needs to change.
APN supports in principle the establishment of a Communications Tribunal to deal with digital harms and the tightening of laws on cyber bullying.But the tribunal should not deal with defamation, APN said.
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