New Zealand proposes regulator to protect from harmful online content

The plan, which follows growing concerns about the proliferation of harmful material on the internet, seeks to ensure a safer online environment for all New Zealanders.

 Flag, New Zealand Flag

The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has unveiled a proposal to establish a new regulation body aimed at safeguarding citizens from harmful online content.

According to the DIA, the new body would bring all content-sharing platforms into one cohesive framework with consistent standards. The regulator’s primary objective would be to prevent the spread of harmful material, including violence, hate speech, and explicit content that could potentially harm individuals or communities.

Under the proposed legislation, the new regulator would be responsible for monitoring and enforcing rules related to harmful digital content, issuing takedown notices to platforms and could impose penalties on companies that fail to comply. It would also work in collaboration with social media platforms and other online service providers, and if the collaboration is lacking, the regulator could work towards developing a code of conduct.

The proposal has garnered mixed reactions. Supporters argue that it is a crucial step toward safeguarding citizens from the negative impacts of harmful online content. Critics, however, raise concerns about potential limitations on free speech and the challenges of effectively regulating such a vast and rapidly evolving digital landscape.

The New Zealand government aims to consult with the public and industry stakeholders to refine the proposal before introducing the legislation to Parliament.