TVNZ Charter review process goes to next stage

The TVNZ Charter review process will go to its next stage this week when it is referred to Parliament’s Commerce Select Committee.

The TVNZ Act 2003 says the TVNZ Charter must be reviewed by Parliament within five years of its implementation.

Earlier this year TVNZ put out for public consultation a suggested redraft of the Charter. The suggested redraft divided the Charter into seven themes – “An Informed Society”, “National Identity and Citizenship”, “Maori”, “Diversity”, “High Standards”, “Innovation” and “New Zealand Talent” – to give it clearer structure for the public.
The suggested redraft also tried to take into account that while TVNZ’s main broadcasting services would remain for some time via TV ONE and TV2, additional programming content would become available to the public through the new digital channels TVNZ 6 and TVNZ 7 and increasingly in future years through TVNZ ondemand, the TVNZ website and other media devices.

A Working Party of TVNZ and Ministry for Culture and Heritage officials, chaired by leading broadcasting academic Peter Thompson from UNITEC, considered 286 submissions from individuals and groups from New Zealand and overseas. The submissions varied from specific comments on the current and redrafted Charter to general subjective views on programming matters.

The Working Party considered all the submissions individually and was impressed by the thought that had gone into many of them. Its amendments to the suggested redraft balanced the interests of the different groups and the need to keep the document readable.
As a result of the public consultation, the Working Party’s changes to the suggested redraft included the insertion of a new theme – “Presenting New Zealand Overseas”.

A number of submissions, most notably from the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and broadcasters from Samoa, the Cook Islands, Nuie and Tonga, suggested TVNZ replicate public service television Charters from around the world in presenting New Zealand and its culture offshore.

Other changes include strengthening the diversity section by the insertion of sub clauses about providing “programmes that support and encourage awareness of environmental issues and sustainable development” and “programmes that support awareness of business, commercial and financial matters”. In the national identity and citizenship section a sub clause was inserted about the need to “strive to enable New Zealanders of all abilities to engage with the fullest range of programmes”.

The Working Party also restored into the redraft the idea of TVNZ being an industry leader and, through its news and current affairs, its role as a watchdog of New Zealand’s public and private institutions.

Most of the other changes to the suggested redraft were to do with consistency of terminology and clarifying meaning.

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