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Streamlined Broadcasting Code reflects changing society and media environment

A new Codebook designed to make broadcasting standards simpler, clearer and more user-friendly for broadcasters and audiences takes effect from today.

The revised Broadcasting Standards Codebook outlines requirements for TV and radio programmes, which viewers and listeners can complain about if they feel they have been breached.

It has been developed by broadcasters and the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) in consultation with other stakeholders and the public, and replaces the May 2020 version.

The new Code results from a review which aimed to ensure the standards and guidelines reflect today’s diverse society and broadcasting environment. Key changes include:

  • Combining the three previous codes for pay TV, free-to-air TV and radio into one simplified Code.
  • Streamlining and combining some standards which cover related issues.
  • Updating the guidelines for the discrimination and denigration standard to clarify its application to content reinforcing negative stereotypes.
  • An obligation for broadcasters to correct material errors of fact within the accuracy standard.
  • Updating the guidelines/commentary on how the standards apply, shaped by past BSA decisions.
  • Refreshing the language to make it easier to understand.
  • Updating guidance to clarify the requirements for a formal complaint, and the types of complaints broadcasters can treat as feedback only.

The new Code is available in English and te Reo Māori and is being translated into several other languages.

It will apply to all programmes broadcast on or after 1 July 2022. Complaints about broadcasts before 1 July will continue to be made under the old Codebook which is still available on the BSA website.

BSA Acting Chief Executive Helen Cruse said: ‘The Broadcasting Standards Codebook is central to achieving our vision of freedom of speech without harm on TV and radio.

“We now have a Code that better reflects today’s industry and community expectations, along with current attitudes, values and audience behaviour. It also aligns, where appropriate, with frameworks overseen by other content standards entities, which will help ensure a more joined-up regulatory system.”



The revised Code of Broadcasting Practice is available to view on the BSA website.


The BSA is an independent Crown entity that oversees the broadcasting standards regime in New Zealand. It determines complaints that broadcasts have breached standards, undertakes research and oversees the development of broadcasting standards in consultation with broadcasters.

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