Sharing video footage or the shooter’s manifesto of the Christchurch, New Zealand massacre is outlawed in New Zealand. Not only that, but even making memes using still images, photos, or video footage is also illegal in the region.
ABC News is reporting that at least six people have been charged with “illegally” sharing the video contents with other people. 44-year-old Philip Arps pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing the video of the mosque massacre and will remain in jail until June 14th, where he could face up to 14-years in prison for sharing the video with over 30 people.
The real danger, however, is that one of the individuals charged – an 18-year-old who was arrested in March and has been in jail since – simply shared memes of the Christchurch shooting. According to ABC News…
“The 18-year-old suspect is charged with sharing both the video and a still image of the Al Noor mosque where more than 40 people were killed with the words ‘target acquired.’ He will reappear in court on July 31 when electronically monitored bail will be considered.”
Modifying imagery or making jokes using footage of the massacre and sharing it online or through social media, or distributing the content is considered illegal in New Zealand.
New Zealand’s Chief Censor, David Shanks, outlawed the video footage and the manifesto, labeling them as “objectionable” back in late March of 2019.
You can still acquire the contents if you’re approved by the New Zealand government, which first requires payment.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, isn’t satisfied with the police state they’ve canvassed over New Zealand residents regarding the matter. The report states that Ardern will be meeting with executives from big tech, along with world leaders, in order to mandate the “Christchurch Call”, which would prohibit the spread or sharing of “violent extremism” or “terrorism” from being shown online at all. Details on the “Christchurch Call” haven’t been made public, yet.
Jordan Carter from the New Zealand outlet The Spinoff penned an opinion piece on April 24th, 2019 in response to the “Christchurch Call”, calling for calmer minds and cooler heads when it comes to regulation, because otherwise it could result in over-blocking content, as he points out…
“Applying overly tight automated filtering would lead to very widespread overblocking. What if posting a Radio New Zealand story about the Sri Lanka attacks over the weekend on Facebook was automatically blocked? Imagine if a link to a donations site for the victims of the Christchurch attacks led to the same outcome? How about sharing a video of TV news reports on either story? This is why automation is unlikely to be the whole answer. We also will need to think through carefully about how any action arising from the Call won’t give cover for problematic actions by countries with no commitment to the free, open and secure internet.”
Moreover, this desired policy from Ardern fits inline with what Microsoft and Facebook have also wanted to implement, along with the U.K., who is establishing a censorship regulator to prohibit the spread of such content in the future.
All of this was part of the end goals and desires of the Christchurch shooter. In his manifesto he specifically wanted governments and regulators to escalate censorship to the point of creating civil unrest. His main goal was to accelerate a civil race war via inciting governments enact policies that would create national division in certain regions.
(Thanks for the news tip Rob)