Media Literacy Information in New Zealand: A Comparative Assessment of Current Data in Relation to Adults, 2007


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Date published: July 2007

Researchers: Department of Communication and Journalism, Massey University


  • Investigation into the current availability of media literacy information in New Zealand
  • Will inform the development of the Authority’s media literacy strategy
  • Focuses on electronic communications – broadcasting, the internet and mobile phones


  • Reviews international empirical researches and activities in addressing media literacy issues
  • Considers New Zealand patterns of, and research into issues of, media access, understanding, and creation
  • Collates local statistics by various government and research agencies alongside New Zealand research, from both academic and government sources


  • Suggest a definition for New Zealand context – “media literacy is the ability to access, understand, analyse, evaluate, create and communicate information in a variety of contexts” and formats, including print and nonprint, in order to empower citizens to control their relationship with the media
  • International statistics all indicate huge growth of all electronic and digital media usage
  • There are large gaps in understanding of media literacy in practice
  • Television is the dominant medium but use being eroded among young people
  • 1.8% of the population over 10 years reports not watching TV, and 33% of the population watch more than 23 hours a week
  • 23.8% of the population report not listening to radio
  • 67% of the population use internet but concerns about the ‘digital divide’ are still valid in 2006 with low access by the elderly, those with low incomes, and those of Maori and Pacific descent
  • Young people are more likely to use the internet, listen to the radio and watch television, but are much less likely to read the daily paper
  • Over 65s watch more television and read more papers, but listen to less radio and are much less likely to use the internet
  • Households of under $40,000 income per year are more likely to be heavy TV users and less likely to read the daily paper or use the internet
  • Maori and Pacific people are more likely to be heavy TV watchers and radio listeners, and less likely to read newspapers or access the internet
  • The BSA may consider where its role lies within the area of ‘digital literacy’
  • Need to investigate what is known about, and what is being done about, media literacy within specifically marginalised groups
  • Need to gather more knowledge about the different access and media literacy issues for the diverse minority ethnic peoples of New Zealand
  • Investigate the ‘protective competencies’ of adults across all media
  • Adults should be more knowledgeable about their media landscape and what they can access