The Honourable Raynor Asher has been appointed chairman of the New Zealand Media Council and will take up his role on July 1.
Mr Asher was previously a Judge of the Court of Appeal, a position he retired from earlier this month.
The appointment was announced by the Council’s governance arm, the NZ Media Association Incorporated.
Mr Asher will take over from Sir John Hansen, who has chaired the Council since 2013, and is due to retire in June.
Association chairman Rick Neville said the Council was fortunate to recruit someone with as distinguished a legal career as Mr Asher, as well as having practical knowledge of the workings of the media.
From being a partner at Auckland law firm Kensington Swan, he began practice as a barrister in 1986 before being appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1992.
A former president of the NZ Bar Association, president of the Auckland District Law Society and vice president of the NZ Law Society, Mr Asher was appointed to the High Court bench in 2005 then appointed a Judge of the Court of Appeal in 2016.
For many years, Mr Asher chaired the Media and Courts Committee, a committee set up by the Chief Justice and comprising judges and media executives from New Zealand’s main media organisations. Its objectives are to promote understanding by the media of the role of the courts, and understanding by judges of media issues. The committee has been effective in assisting the media in achieving open and accurate reporting of cases.
Paying tribute to Sir John Hansen’s chairmanship of the Media (previously Press) Council since 2013, Mr Neville said Sir John had provided firm leadership of the Council during a time of significant media change. The Council had extended its membership by accepting the broadcaster and digital publisher members of the former Online Media Standards Association (OMSA) and a number of new digital broadcast and print publishers.
Reflecting this broader membership, the Council last year changed its name from NZ Press Council to NZ Media Council. A recent innovation has been the establishment by the Council of a specialist committee to hear complaints from the public against video-on-demand classifications.
Press Council members are to launch a new classification system and independent consumer complaints process for video-on-demand programmes in New Zealand.
Memorandum of Understanding
The six broadcasting members of the Online Media Standards Authority (OMSA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the New Zealand Press Council for complaints against broadcasters’ digital content to come under Press Council jurisdiction.
The broadcasters are TVNZ, MediaWorks, Sky Network Television, Maori Television, NZME Radio and Radio New Zealand.