Approved Agency an important step in managing online harm

31 May 2016

InternetNZ is pleased to see today's announcement that NetSafe will be the "Approved Agency" under the Harmful Digital Communications Act.

"We all recognise the harm that can occur online. The challenge with this legislation has always been in providing workable processes that mean that freedom of expression is not threatened, and that court-based remedies are rare," says Andrew Cushen, Deputy Chief Executive of InternetNZ.

InternetNZ believes this Approved Agency will play an important role in mitigating harm online without curbing freedom of expression through the Internet. We are also hopeful that it means court-based remedies are reduced to exceptional cases only.

"That's why this Approved Agency announcement is important - because it provides education, timely intervention and mediation-based processes that are essential to making this Harmful Digital Communications regime reasonable and workable," says Cushen.

"We are also delighted that our long-term strategic partner NetSafe has been appointed to this role. We can think of no better team that has the skills and experience to do this job well."

InternetNZ will maintain a watching brief on this Approved Agency, and the Harmful Digital Communications regime in general, to ensure that a vital balance between education, harm minimisation and freedom of speech is maintained.

"Today's announcement is a vital part of maintaining that balance, and it's fantastic to see the Approved Agency provisions finally moving forward," says Cushen.

ENDS

The Government's media release can be read here:

NetSafe appointed to cyberbullying role