International Update New Zealand media law update

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Cheer, Ursula

This update of New Zealand media law follows a short hiatus and presents highlights from the last few years. The update will be published in two parts, this first part dealing with developments in defamation, privacy, and breach of confidence. The second part will deal with hate speech and online harms, copyright, court reporting, contempt, and media regulation of native and embedded advertising.

In defamation, New Zealand courts have accepted a form of harm threshold but rejected changes to the multiple publication rule. Doubt has been cast on the principle that death ends most claims in defamation, following recognition in a number of cases that Māori tikanga is part of New Zealand law. Publication by hyperlink that attracts liability has been somewhat clarified, and defence against attack continues to be used by defendants with mixed success. Context has been emphasised in determining meanings and various aspects of remedies have attracted judicial comment.

In privacy, a media exemption under the Privacy Act has been the subject of privacy complaint proceedings and later statutory amendment. The publicity requirement in our publication tort has been relaxed and remedies have been the subject of obiter comment. An overlap between privacy and reputational harm has been recognised by the High Court and causation issues have defeated a claim by a prominent ex-MP. Courts have indicated interest in addressing whether our publication tort should continue to have a second limb requiring highly offensive publication, and lawyers are using this argument strategically.

Two breach of confidence cases involving wrongful disclosure of information resulted in injunctions issued to prevent publication by media as third party recipients.

Cheer U (2022). International Update New Zealand media law update. Media and Arts Law Review. 24(4). 302-315.
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ANZSRC fields of research
Fields of Research::48 - Law and legal studies::4804 - Law in context::480411 - Media and communication law
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