New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority

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Group.png New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority  
(Censor, RegulatorWebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
BSA logo 2011.png
Parent organizationNew Zealand
New Zealand government supervision body for corporate media.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) is a New Zealand government entity created by the Broadcasting Act 1989 to develop and uphold standards of broadcasting for radio, free-to-air and pay television.

The BSA is made up of a board appointed for a fixed term by the Governor-General on the advice of the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media meaning that practically the Minister of Broadcasting (and Cabinet) appoint the board. The chair is always a barrister. One member is appointed after consultation with broadcasters and one after consultation with public interest groups.

Its rulings are effectively legal documents which can be appealed in the High Court. Uniquely, the Authority can order errant broadcasters off the air for really bad breaches of the broadcasting codes and even make them apologise.[1]

In March 2013 the Law Commission proposed moving complaints about news and current affairs out of the jurisdiction of the BSA, the Press Council, and the Online Media Standards Authority, placing them under a proposed new body, the News Media Standards Authority. [2]

September 11th, 2001

In 2006 Clare Swinney brought a complaint to the Authority in connection to TVNZ's unsubstantiated claim that Osama bin Laden was behind the 9/11 attacks. In response, she was threatened, forcibly incarcerated in a psychiatric ward and subjected to compulsory 'treatment' for mental disorder.[3]

Freedom in Broadcasting without Harm

In 2018, it announced what it calls "a strategic refresh which puts the spotlight on harm"[4] under a new Orwellian vision statement: ‘Freedom in Broadcasting without Harm’.[5] "When we receive a complaint, we value the right to freedom of expression against what harm might have already risen arisen. The Authority is now putting a spotlight on the fact that 'harm' is a really important part of what we do," BSA chief executiveBelinda Moffat said. "We have to regulate to prevent harm upfront"...Certainly there is a kind of heightened awareness of things like hate speech - and even of things that don’t go that far. There’s a heightened awareness of things like balance and accuracy in reporting too, which is even more important now given the kind of political and social environment that we are in."[6]

Denigration standard does not apply to the 'unvaccinated'

In December 2021, the Authority said comments aired on TV or radio about people based on their vaccination status "are unlikely to be considered discrimination or denigration under broadcasting standards", saying "discrimination and denigration standard does not apply to the 'unvaccinated' or those who oppose vaccines". A complaint against a show on public broadcaster TVNZ wanting the 'unvaccinated' to be treated as dogs, was thrown out. [7]