Media Law in New Zealand - 2024 trends and insights

11 July 2024

The media law landscape is evolving rapidly in New Zealand. We update you on key legal developments in the five years since our last insights publication and scan the horizon for likely future trends.

These include an expectation that:

  • the number of defamation claims will remain relatively steady, although primarily driven by social media,
  • the public interest defence will continue to trouble the courts in jury trials,
  • the exact bounds of the invasion of privacy test, in particular whether publicity has to be highly offensive, and the legitimate public interest defence will continue to be areas of uncertainty,
  • interim injunctions and name suppression applications will continue to be used as mechanisms to stall the media’s ability to report on allegations, and
  • the media should expect an increase in complaints to regulators about reporting.

We hope that Parliament will be persuaded to update the legal framework within which the media must work, including:

  • reviewing the Defamation Act 1992 so that it is fit for purpose, recognising the impact of social media and artificial intelligence deepfakes, and
  • codifying and reformulating the tort of invasion of privacy.

Given the societal values involved in both a holistic review is necessary, one which should be conducted by the legislature rather than left to the courts.

Read our Media Law in New Zealand - 2024 trends and insights publication here.

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