Its activities were considered beneficial to the community
The Court of Appeal has reportedly ruled in favour of the Better Public Media Trust (BPM) following a protracted legal process and has recognised the organisation as a registered charity.
The judges acknowledged that its advocacy for public media did not merit a disqualification to its charitable status and held that its activities were considered beneficial to the community.
“The Trust achieves its purposes through a range of activities including the conducting of independent research, the commissioning of public lectures, providing expert commentary and promoting the concept of public media in secondary schools through an annual competition,” said Court of Appeal Justice David Collins.
“The Trust aims to ensure that our democratic principles and institutions are enhanced through citizens being better informed about significant issues through public media platforms,” the judgement stated. “Importantly, the Trust also aims to enhance social cohesion by promoting the voices of minority communities through public media.”
“It is gratifying that the Appeal Court has recognised that Better Public Media’s work can be considered charitable,” said Peter Thompson, the BPM chair. “Perhaps more importantly though, the judgment provides legal affirmation that public media services more broadly are beneficial to the community.”
In 2019, Te Rātā Atawhai, the Independent Charities Registration Board (ICRB), declined BPM’s registration as a charity. The organisation appealed this decision. The High Court dismissed this in March 2020.
BPM then appealed the High Court’s decision to the Court of Appeal. On 9 November 2023, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and held that BPM could be registered as a charity.