Contents

Chapter 4
What form of accountability?

What type of accountability?

The market as a mechanism of accountability

4.28 In its submission, Allied Press, publishers of the Otago Daily Times, stated that the “ultimate judgement” of any news organisation came back to the “relationship of trust between publisher and reader; broadcaster and viewer”:141

Our survival as a commercial entity rests upon our organisation being on the “right” side of the ledger in terms of reader/viewer/advertiser judgement. Integrity is the lynchpin of all that we do.

4.29While there can be no doubt that the free market and consumer choice exert a powerful influence on the behaviour of media organisations – including helping to define the boundaries of what is acceptable and unacceptable to the public – there are weaknesses in the argument of consumer sovereignty when applied to the news media.

4.30According to orthodox economic theory, markets operate most efficiently when consumers are left to make informed, rational choices that reflect the true costs and benefits of their consumption decisions, without the distorting effects of regulatory intervention.

4.31However, most also recognise that this ideal does not always exist in the real world and that in some circumstances intervention may be justified. The most commonly accepted rationale for intervention is market failure. This might occur when consumption of a product generates costs which are borne more widely than the individual (externalities), or conversely when the product confers benefits on the wider society which cannot be restricted to the individual consumer or be fully reflected in the price of that commodity (a public good). Market failure may also occur when the consumer’s ability to exercise choice is impeded either by a lack of competition or imperfect information.

4.32As part of the inquiry into media regulation in Australia, the Finkelstein Inquiry assessed the Australian media market against these accepted rationales for regulatory intervention.

4.33The Finkelstein Report concluded that there was clear evidence of market failure on the following grounds:142
(a)News is a public good: the production of news generates “external” social benefits to society beyond the private benefits accruing to producers and consumers of news. These wider social benefits cannot be reflected in the cost to the individual consumer, leading towards an undersupply.
(b)Competition is limited: the Report stated that ownership of Australia’s newspaper market was among the most concentrated in the developed world. Between them, two companies, News Limited, and Fairfax Media accounted for 86 per cent of total newspaper circulation in Australia.143
(c)The news media generate negative externalities: the harms resulting from media mistakes and unethical behaviour are not borne solely by the media and their consumers but by wider society: “this includes those subjected to adverse reporting, who have no meaningful redress at law, and the community as a whole insofar as it depends upon the media for news and public affairs reporting in order for democracy to function properly.”144
(d)Consumer choice is impaired by information asymmetry: the Report noted that “[t]he general reader is seldom in a position to know whether the information provided in a story is accurate, whether the sources quoted are reliable, and whether all the relevant facts have been interpreted objectively.”145
4.34With respect to competition, the Report stated:146

The Australian newspaper market is far from the ideal truly competitive market which imposes considerable discipline on suppliers of products. In highly concentrated markets, and the Australian newspaper market is one such market, that discipline is dissipated and consumers have little choice and little power to influence what is supplied.

4.35It also noted that this high concentration of ownership and lack of competition in the primary news market carried a number of risks, including:147
4.36The Report concluded:148

This adversely affects democracy. If everything that is worth saying is not said satisfactorily, informed debate on important political and social issues will be at risk. The privately-controlled free and open market will be impaired. Many ideas will be killed before they are heard. Democracy is the loser.

4.37In assessing the significance of “negative externalities” generated by the news media, the Finkelstein Inquiry was able to draw on a detailed meta-analysis of 21 surveys, spanning four decades, which examined public perceptions of media trust, performance, bias, power and ethics.

4.38Based on this research and evidence of submitters, the Report concluded there was a “persistent recurrence” of standards failures among sections of the Australian news media including privacy violations, injury to reputation, partisanship in politics, bias, obsessive attempts to influence government, commercially-driven opposition to government policy, unfair pursuit of individuals based on inaccurate information, failure to separate news from comment, and failure to sufficiently differentiate expert from lay opinion.149  The Report also noted a “wide difference in what the media and public consider ethically acceptable concerning privacy and deception.”150

4.39The Report considered that these failures could at times cause serious and unjustified harms to individuals and society and were contributing to the erosion of public trust in the news media.

4.40The Report concluded that the existing self-regulatory regime to which Australia’s print media had traditionally been subject had failed to exert a powerful enough influence over standards and did not provide the necessary incentives to cope with the clear failures in the market.

The New Zealand news market

4.41The theoretical justifications put forward in the Finkelstein Report for some form of regulatory oversight of the newspaper market in Australia have clear application in our own context. The specific examples of market failure – including the problems of externalities and information asymmetries – are structural problems inherent in the business of gathering and selling news. On the face of it New Zealand’s media market exhibits similar concentration of ownership and limited competition as identified in the Finkelstein Report. However, for reasons we will set out below, we view these market failures through a different lens and draw different conclusions about their implications for regulatory reform in the digital age.

Competition

4.42New Zealand’s media market is also characterised by concentrated ownership. Five entities dominate the print and broadcast markets: Fairfax Media New Zealand (part of the Australasian company Fairfax Media), APN News & Media (majority shareholders, Irish Independent News and Media and Australian equity fund Allan Grey), MediaWorks (private equity owned), Television New Zealand (state owned) and Sky (at the time of publication Rupert Murdoch's News Limited was in the process of selling its 43.65 per cent share in Sky to a range of institutional investors).

4.43The daily metropolitan print and online news market is shared between APN News & Media and Fairfax New Zealand. Unlike Australia, there are no longer any competing daily metropolitan newspapers.151  However APN and Fairfax compete directly with one another in the Sunday newspaper market and, most significantly, in the provision of New Zealand’s online news.
4.44In December 2012 Stuff (Fairfax New Zealand), and nzherald.co.nz (APN News & Media), ranked second and third, respectively (behind Wikipedia) in the top 15 news and information websites in New Zealand with a combined unique audience of just under two million.152  Between them, it is estimated they had a combined reach of about 57 per cent of New Zealand’s total active online audience.153
4.45 Audience share is similarly concentrated in the broadcast sector. The rival radio networks, The Radio Network (a subsidiary of the Australian Radio Network jointly owned by APN News & Media and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment) and MediaWorks Radio (MediaWorks) are estimated to have over 85 per cent of market share between them.154
4.46The free-to-air television market is operated by a mix of private and publicly-owned companies, including Television New Zealand (TV One, TV2, TVNZ U) and Māori Television, (Māori TV and Te Reo), MediaWorks (TV3 and FOUR) and Sky (Prime). Sky is also the dominant provider in the subscription television market offering satellite coverage to over 50 per cent of New Zealand households. In 2012 it entered into a partnership with TVNZ to launch a basic subscription channel, Igloo TV, using Sky’s digital terrestrial spectrum providing a mixture of free-to-air, on-demand paid and pay-per-view programming.155

4.47Allied Press is the only surviving major independent media company. It publishes the Otago Daily Times, a stable of regional and community newspapers and also owns a number of local radio and television stations.

Disrupted market

4.48The Finkelstein Report noted that highly concentrated media ownership posed a number of potential risks including limiting the extent to which ideas and information were contested, disproportionate influence of dominant media players and declining standards as a result of weak competition.

4.49However, it is arguable that the greatest threat to the provision of quality national news arises not from weak competition but from the pace of technological change and its impact on the profitability of corporate news media. In New Zealand, as in Australia, the major newspaper companies are making the transition to digital delivery against a backdrop of declining revenue. While digital advertising is increasing, web and mobile advertising do not offer the yields traditionally derived from print and broadcast television advertising, forcing far-reaching reforms throughout the industry.156
4.50In August 2011, the independent news wire service, the New Zealand Press Association (NZPA) became a casualty of the ongoing industry restructuring. The 131 year old news co-operative, jointly owned by Fairfax New Zealand, APN and the remaining independent newspapers, had provided a core news wire and picture service to its own members’ newspapers and websites as well as selling content to third parties such as TVNZ and MediaWorks. The service closed in August 2011 after Fairfax New Zealand withdrew its funding from the agency.157
4.51Since then the pace of rationalisation has increased as noted in a report on the state of New Zealand media by Auckland University of Technology researcher Merja Myllylahti:158

In 2012 it became apparent that the traditional business models of New Zealand print media were failing and the “digital first” approach was not (yet) making real impact on the bottom lines of APN and Fairfax. In New Zealand, commercial news media’s transformation from print to the digital environment has reduced jobs; remodelled newsrooms; expanded to non-core businesses and triggered asset sales.

4.52Myllylahti noted that while some New Zealand print assets looked likely to be offered for sale, there was also likely to be increasing focus on the potential of both digital audio broadcasting and the provision of high quality video on-demand services off the back of the Government’s billion dollar investment in ultra-fast broadband.

New media as alternative news sources

4.53The other important factor in assessing levels of competition is, of course, the rise of new publishing platforms which allow newsmakers to bypass the mainstream media, providing the public with alternative news sources. Social media networks like Twitter have fundamentally changed the environment in which news is broken and is increasingly used as an “official” channel for the dissemination of breaking news. Mainstream media must keep pace with this 24 hour continuous news cycle while at the same time undertaking their core functions of verification and contextualisation.

4.54Beyond the spot or live news market however, the impact of new media publishers on the breadth and depth of local news available to New Zealanders is less clear. Chapter 2 of our Issues Paper contained a detailed overview of this new media landscape.159  This included an attempt to distinguish between the different types of new media publishers, the various functions they were performing, and the relationship between these new entities and the mainstream media.

4.55We do not propose to repeat this analysis here except to restate a number of conclusions we reached which have a bearing on the level of competition and diversity in the New Zealand media market.

4.56First, and most significantly, we concluded that this proliferation of publishers is enriching public debate and has the potential to strengthen democracy by increasing participation in public affairs, widening the sources of information available to the public and providing a greater diversity of opinion. It is also providing a new form of accountability for the mainstream news media as bloggers and others critique aspects of the mainstream media’s coverage of political and other events.160

4.57However, we also noted a number of caveats: despite the massive proliferation of publishing online, only a small percentage of this new publishing activity is focused primarily on the generation and dissemination of original, local, news and current affairs. For example, we identified only a small number of professional, internet-native entities for whom this was the primary focus: these included sites such as Scoop, NewsWire, BusinessDesk, allaboutauckland.com and interest.co.nz.

4.58Alongside this relatively small pool of original content creators, are a number of news aggregators, such as infonews.co.nz, Voxy.co.nz and Yahoo!New Zealand, who generate little if any original news, but instead filter, organise, repackage and re-publish content drawn from multiple other news sources.

4.59Similarly we noted that while New Zealand has an active blogging community, including over 200 individual and collective blogs largely concerned with commentary and debate on New Zealand news and current affairs, only a small proportion of these provide reportage and generate original news with any regularity.

4.60Even the most prolific and high profile bloggers attract only a small fraction of the audiences which mainstream media sites attract each day. In order for a story broken on a blog site to gain momentum, it typically must percolate up through the social media ecosystem into the mainstream media.

4.61 Recent research into the news media consumption habits of New Zealanders and Australians suggests that in both countries around two thirds of the population (61 per cent and 68 per cent respectively) continue to depend on traditional news media sources accessed off-line.161  In both countries, commercial television outranks all other media as the main source of news for the largest proportion of the population (36 per cent in Australia and 42 per cent in New Zealand).
4.62After commercial television, the news sources which ranked highest for New Zealanders as the “main news source” were newspaper websites (25 per cent), newspapers (11 per cent), other news websites (eight per cent) and Radio New Zealand (six per cent). In this respect New Zealanders differed from Australians, with newspaper websites emerging as the “main source of news” for only eight per cent of Australians, the same percentage as relied on public broadcasters and Australian metropolitan and local newspapers.162
4.63When asked which news media source they would be most inclined to believe if there were conflicting accounts of a news story in different media, television and newspaper websites again ranked highest at 48 and 25 per cent respectively.163

4.64While based on a small sample, this research suggests that the majority of New Zealanders currently continue to rely on a comparatively small pool of mainstream providers – foremost amongst them TVNZ, MediaWorks, Fairfax New Zealand and APN News & Media – for authoritative accounts of domestic news and current affairs.

4.65This analysis leads us to conclude that while “new media” are making a significant impact on the New Zealand news market, and providing some competition and accountability for mainstream media, the imbalance in resources and audience share means these effects are, for the moment, modest.

Information asymmetries

4.66Another rationale for regulatory intervention advanced by Finkelstein was the extent to which consumers’ judgements and choices around news are impaired because they are not in a position to assess whether a report is fair and accurate or whether important facts have been omitted.

4.67Again, while we agree in principle with this analysis, it is arguable that the internet and interactive publishing are significantly altering this imbalance in favour of the reader/consumer. One of the core functionalities of web 2.0 is the facility to comment on and share content. Most mainstream media organisations have embraced this technology and are fostering user interaction.

4.68As discussed above, the internet has also given rise to many alternative sources of opinion and commentary: critiquing the mainstream media’s account of events is an important function carried out by many of these new media publishers.

4.69Powerful search technology also allows consumers to access primary materials, academic research and expert opinion on almost any topic. Citizens caught up in major news events anywhere in the world are able to transmit images and reports of these events instantly. While it often falls to professional media organisations to verify such reports, the fact is, news consumers now have a variety of competing sources from which to draw their own conclusions.

4.70In short, in the age of mass participatory media, audiences are no longer the passive recipients of information. They are often inquiring and sometimes, better informed than the traditional news sources.

4.71That said, we also acknowledge that the ideal of the inquiring and sceptical user is just that – an ideal. This point was made by Victoria University academic Peter Thompson who pointed out that “the standard of rational dialogue from the audience on news websites is highly varied” and:164

… not everyone is equally knowledgeable or equipped to engage in critical disputation – so it is imperative that the basic facts presented in the news be subject to basic professional standards. Most people still want to be able to believe what they read.

The “public good” problem

4.72The processes of gathering, verifying and contextualising news is expensive and time consuming. It can also be financially risky. The benefits of these activities accrue to the whole of society, and are never able to be reflected in the cover price of a newspaper – giving rise to the so called “public good" problem. Arguably, the decision to make premium news journalism available free online has exacerbated this problem.

4.73In many countries the problem is mitigated by the provision of taxpayer funded public sector broadcasters subject to their own statutory charters. In England for example the BBC’s journalism is subsidised via a television licensing fee.165  This was also the case in New Zealand until 1999 when the licensing fee was abolished, increasing TVNZ’s dependence on advertising revenue. In Australia there are two state funded broadcasters, (ABC and SBS), and media surveys consistently shows these brands to be regarded as highly trustworthy.
4.74Alongside TVNZ, New Zealand has two other publicly owned broadcasters, Radio New Zealand and Māori Television. Both have their own statutes setting out their objectives and charters.166  In addition, the state funds a range of Māori and general interest content for broadcast or digital delivery via its two funding agencies, New Zealand on Air and Te Māngai Pāho.167

4.75Another rationalisation impacting the market in 2011 was the closure of TVNZ7. The channel was launched in 2008 as a commercial-free public service digital broadcaster with a strong focus on news, current affairs and documentaries. Although TVNZ is state-owned, it is no longer bound by any specific public service charter with respect to its programming mix.

Harms

4.76Unlike the Finkelstein and Leveson Inquiries, our own review was not driven by scandal or a perceived crisis in public confidence in the mainstream media. It was driven instead by concern at the gaps and inconsistences which had arisen in the regulatory environment for news media as a result of convergence. However, as we explain in the introductory chapter, the underlying concern is about professional standards and accountability and how these can be applied in this era of ubiquitous publishing. In order to address this question it is important to assess how well New Zealand’s news media (mainstream and new) are performing against their own professional and ethical standards. Such an assessment is an important indicator of whether the current regulatory environment is in fact providing the necessary level of accountability to maintain public trust in the news media.

4.77In reaching their own conclusions about the adequacy of the existing news media standards bodies in their respective countries, the Finkelstein and Leveson Inquiries were able to draw on a very significant body of research and oral and written submissions specifically addressing the issues of news media standards and public trust.

4.78Prior to the News of the World phone hacking scandal in 2011, there were already indications that trust in the media in some parts of the world was declining sharply. An independent review by Britain’s Media Standards Trust cites public research showing a significant decline in public trust in journalism across a range of mastheads including “up-market” newspaper brands.168  The report also examined the impact of the internet, economic pressures and competition on accuracy and professional standards.
4.79As we noted in our Issues Paper, there is a dearth of robust independent research on New Zealand news media’s performance and to our knowledge no systematic monitoring of public trust in the news media.169

4.80Despite this lack of detailed research, it is possible to draw some tentative conclusions about the public’s perception of the news media’s performance drawing on a range of different sources including:

  • the volume and nature of complaints received by the Press Council and the BSA;
  • public submissions on this review;
  • our own independent research into public perceptions of news media standards and accountability in New Zealand.

Research

4.81In March 2012, we commissioned an independent market research company to undertake some base line research on New Zealanders’ perceptions of news media standards, accountabilities and complaints bodies. The research targeted a representative sample of 750 New Zealanders aged 18 to 70 and was conducted via an online survey comprising a combination of structured and open-ended questions completed between 15 and 22 March 2012.170

4.82As part of the research, survey participants were asked to assess the news media’s overall performance and were also quizzed about their awareness of news media standards and their perceptions of how well the news media complied with these standards.

4.83When asked whether New Zealand news media were providing “adequate coverage” of what they felt to be the “important current events and issues of the day”, 65 per cent of respondents said “mostly” and 23 per cent “sometimes.” Respondents were also asked whether they felt “reporting errors” (inaccurate or incorrect reporting) were a problem for New Zealand news media. Just over a quarter of the sample felt that errors were a problem, with the remaining evenly divided between “no” (38 per cent) and “don’t know” (36 per cent). Those with higher educational qualifications were significantly more likely to think errors were a problem with 32 per cent of those with a Bachelor’s Degree perceiving errors to be a problem (compared to 26 per cent of the general population). A third of those of Asian or Indian ethnicity also perceived errors to be a problem.

4.84Less than half (39 per cent) were spontaneously aware of the existence of professional standards which apply to the news media. When prompted with definitions of media standards, 60 per cent said they had heard of them. The highest level of awareness was around broadcasting standards. Of those who were aware of the standards, less than half felt they knew where to find them – equating to 24 per cent of the total population.

4.85After the standards were explained, respondents were asked to rate their importance. Slightly less than 70 per cent of the sample regarded the standards as “extremely important”. The most commonly cited reasons for regarding these standards as important were the need for accuracy, honesty and balance, the need to prevent bias and to protect the public’s rights.

4.86When asked to nominate the three media sources they regarded as best complying with news media standards, television ranked highest (nominated in the top three by 70 per cent of the sample) followed by newspapers (57 per cent) and Radio New Zealand (42 per cent). After these three sources there was a marked fall-off in compliance rankings, with newspaper websites nominated in the top three by only 28 per cent of the sample, commercial radio by 20 per cent and other news websites by 10 per cent. Twitter was ranked in the top three news sources for reliability by 15 per cent of the sample and Facebook by one per cent.

4.87There was a strong correlation between the media sources regarded as most compliant with standards and those regarded as most reliable.

Complaints to the Press Council and the BSA

4.88 In the first instance anyone wishing to complain about a news item must attempt to resolve the issue directly with the publisher. Currently there is no publicly available data about the level of such complaints, although a number of newspapers run prominent daily corrections columns.

4.89Anyone dissatisfied with the publisher’s response is able to appeal their decision to either the Press Council or the BSA.

4.90Analysis of the volume and type of complaints appealed to these two bodies over the past five years shows both bodies have seen an increase in the number of cases coming to them for adjudication.

4.91In its 2011 Annual Report the BSA noted that it had experienced a 90 per cent increase in the number of complaints from four years ago. In 2010/2011 the BSA issued 236 decisions (stemming from 250 complaints) upholding 69 (29 per cent) in part or in total. This compares with 125 cases adjudicated in 2006/2007 of which 27 per cent were upheld in part or total.171
4.92Over 80 per cent of the 236 decisions issued in 2010/2011 concerned television broadcasts and over two thirds (68 per cent) concerned news, current affairs, factual programming and “talk-back” radio.172  Early evening news and current affairs programmes made up a significant proportion of the complaints. Of the complaints upheld, the most common standards found to have been breached were those dealing with accuracy, fairness, good taste and decency.
4.93The BSA noted that the 2010/2011 increase in total complaints was explained in part by multiple complaints about specific episodes of Breakfast (hosted by broadcaster Paul Henry) and the New Zealand drama Outrageous Fortune.173
4.94In the latest reporting year (June 2011 to June 2012) the number of complaints fell back to 195 of which 162 decisions were issued and only 17 (10 per cent) were upheld.174  Over 70 per cent of the decisions involved news, “factuals” or election programmes.175
4.95However, despite the recent increase in the volume of complaints, analysis over two decades does not show a sustained increase in the number of complaints but rather considerable yearly fluctuations. Similarly, the percentage of complaints upheld over this period has fluctuated from highs of 34 and 35 per cent in 1993-1995 to 2012’s low of 10 per cent.176

4.96Like the BSA, the Press Council has also experienced a marked increase in the total number of complaints received over the past four years. The total number of complaints received annually increased from an average of 72, between 2004 and 2008, to an average of 128, in the last four years. These numbers peaked in 2012 with a total of 157 complaints.

4.97However, analysis of adjudicated decisions does not reveal any significant or sustained increase in the percentage of complaints being upheld which continue to average around 30 per cent. There has however been a steady increase in the number of complaints resolved through mediation.177

4.98In part this is likely to be a consequence of the greater flexibility with which the Press Council has been able to respond to the digital publishing environment. Not only has it extended its jurisdiction to its members’ websites, its executive director has also taken an active role in resolving complaints relating to a number of non-member websites such as Scoop, Yahoo!New Zealand and MSN NZ.

4.99This has meant the Press Council has been forced to grapple with a range of new ethical and practical problems arising from the digital publishing environment. Some of these issues relate to journalistic processes and practices around the publication of user-generated content or content sourced from social media including Facebook and Twitter. Other issues relate to the architecture of the internet itself and the implications for complainants and publishers when contested content remains available on search engines – or in other cases hidden behind pay walls.

4.100 For the adjudicators, the complexities of determining complaints can be made more complex when the content complained about has either been removed from the website or amended in some way. On the one hand, the speed with which corrections can be made is a distinct advantage when errors are made, but it can also raise concerns for the complainant when there is no acknowledgment that the original content was incorrect, or when cached versions of the original content continue to feature prominently in searches.178

Submissions

4.101Our Issues Paper made a number of bald assertions about the role and importance of the news media in a liberal democracy. As we noted in the previous chapter, these assertions were met with a degree of scepticism from some submitters. Some were highly critical of the mainstream media’s standard of reporting. They questioned whether impartial reporting and fact checking were in fact still core capabilities of the news media and whether public interest journalism remained a serious pursuit for commercial media driven by the twin demands of ratings and revenue.

4.102Perhaps not surprisingly, some of the strongest criticisms of the mainstream media’s performance came from those commenting on our proposals through online consultation forums such as that hosted by Public Address in February 2012. Issues raised included “ratings, ego and 'hit' driven media”, selective reporting, institutional and political bias, inaccuracies and a failure to engage in substantive issues. A number of commentators suggested that new media publishers, including part-time bloggers, who were not subject to commercial constraints, were an increasingly important alternative news source.

4.103However, as we highlighted in the preceding chapter, not all submitters regarded part-time bloggers and other new media commentators as the panacea to mainstream media failings. Criticisms of some new media publishers focused on the lack of adherence to any ethical code, the publication of unsubstantiated information, including damaging allegations, the publication of information suppressed by the courts, and a failure to adequately differentiate between opinion and fact.

4.104A number also pointed out that the “robust” exchange of opinions on some news and current affairs blog sites often descended into low-level debates where personal vitriol and misinformation flourished. Professor Ursula Cheer also questioned whether the self-correcting feedback loops in these forums were always effective:179

Comment can be very homogeneous, and redneckery, bias, and basic inaccuracy can prevail when a discussion builds up a head of steam. I have got into web discussion on legal issues and completely killed the conversation by correcting the inaccuracies which made up most of the commentary. But commentary does not always self-correct mistakes or deliberately damaging material online. And the material may stay in cyberspace until removed.

141Submission of Allied Press Limited (6 March 2012) at 4.
142Finkelstein Report, above n 138, at 267 – 284.
143At [3.12].
144At [11.17].
145At [11.4].
146At [7.6].
147At [11.5].
148At [11.6].
149At [4.81]. See generally Finkelstein Report, above n 138, ch 4 at 103–124.
150At [4.80]
151Melbourne and Sydney continue to be serviced by competing daily newspapers.
152Nielsen Consumer and Media Insights & Nielsen Online Ratings New Zealanders and Online News Consumption (Category Report: News and Information – December 2012). Unique audience is defined as the projected number of unique persons that have visited a website or used an application at least once in the specified reporting period. Persons visiting the same website or using the same application more than one time in the reporting period are only counted once.
153Ibid.
154Merja Myllylahti JMAD New Zealand Media Ownership Report (AUT Centre for Journalism, Media and Democracy, 2012) at 18.
155In 2010 Sky partnered with a number of New Zealand’s leading internet service providers to launch iSky, an online television service which allows subscribers to access content via computers, lap tops and other mobile devices. In February 2012 Fairfax New Zealand announced the launch of a video streaming news service Stuff IPTV Channel accessed via Sony Internet TVs.
156See generally Myllylahti, above n 154, at 19–24.
157In the wake of NZPA’s demise both Fairfax New Zealand and APN News & Media moved to establish their own network news services, Fairfax New Zealand News (FNZN) and APNZ respectively. APNZ is based around a copy sharing arrangement between 50 subscribing newspapers, including APN’s own newspapers and a handful of independent titles including the Otago Daily Times. Fairfax’s new wire service, FNZN, augmented its existing group copy sharing model, Wirestream, drawing on its masthead newsrooms and its national political, sport and business bureaus. Supplementing these two corporate schemes, the Australian news agency AAP (jointly owned by Fairfax Media and News Limited) has boosted its New Zealand presence, setting up NZ Newswire (NZN).
158Myllylahti, above n 154, at 21.
159Issues Paper, above n 133.
160See for example Bryce Edwards “NZ Politics Daily: Did Media Fall For Manufactured Coup?” The National Business Review (online ed, Auckland, 18 December 2012).
161Big Picture Marketing Strategy and Research Ltd Public Perception of News Media Standards and Accountability in New Zealand (summary of the online survey conducted for the Law Commission, April 2012) <www.lawcom.govt.nz/project/review-regulatory-gaps-and-new-media> [Big Picture Research]. See also Australian Communications and Media Authority Digital Australians - Expectations About Media Content in a Converging Media Environment (research report, 2011) at 38 – 39 [Digital Australians].
162Digital Australians, at 39.
163Big Picture Research, above n 161.
164Submission of Peter Thompson (9 March 2012) at 4.
165In the year to March 2012, the annual licensing fee of £145.50 contributed £3.6 billion to the BBC’s revenues.
166The Māori Television Service (Te Aratuku Whakaata Irirangi Māori) Act 2003 establishes the channel as a statutory corporation. The Act requires that the corporation be a high quality, cost effective television provider which informs, educates and entertains, broadcasting mainly in te reo Māori. The Radio New Zealand Act 1995, s 7, sets out the broadcaster’s obligations under its charter which are to “to provide innovative, comprehensive, and independent broadcasting services of a high standard ...” This includes broadcasting “programmes which contribute towards intellectual, scientific, and cultural, spiritual, and ethical development, promote informed debate, and stimulate critical thought.”
167In 2011, New Zealand On Air allocated $84m to television productions; $32m to radio; $12m to Māori broadcasting; $5m to community broadcasting; $5m to music and $2.4m to digital productions. Between 2009 and 2012 New Zealand on Air approved grants of over $5.3m for the production of the news and current affairs programmes Q&A (Television New Zealand) and The Nation (TV3).
168Media Standards Trust A More Accountable Press Part 1: The Need for Reform - Is Self-Regulation Failing the Press and the Public? (2009).
169Issues Paper, above n 133, at [4.54]. A broad ranging review of the Press Council undertaken by Sir Ian Barker and Professor Lewis Evans in 2007 included a small-sample public survey with a question about perceptions of news media accuracy. The respondents were evenly divided on whether or not they considered the New Zealand press “does a good job of providing accurate accounts of events in news stories.” See Ian Barker and Lewis Evans Review of the Press Council (2007) at 139.
170Big Picture Research, above n 161.
171Broadcasting Standards Authority Annual Report (2011) at 11.
172At 11.
173At 11.
174Broadcasting Standards Authority Annual Report (2012) at 55.
175At 16.
176At 55, 56.
177Mediated cases represented 1.28% of total complaints received in 2007; 4% in 2008; 9% in 2009; 6% in 2010 and 2011 and 10% in 2012.
178The Press Council advised us that unless there is a compelling reason to remove content which has been the subject of a complaint – for example in cases involving privacy breaches or unjustifiable reputational damage – the Council’s preference is for the original content which has been found to be in breach to remain available so that the record remains intact, but for there to be an obvious acknowledgement of error and a link to the Press Council decision.
179Submission of Professor Ursula Cheer at [4].