INDEPENDENT NEWS

Censor: Christchurch Attack Video, Publication Objectionable

Published: Mon 25 Mar 2019 12:15 PM
Christchurch attack publication 'The Great Replacement' classified objectionable
23 March 2019
A publication reportedly written by the terrorist behind the fatal attacks in Christchurch, has been officially classified as objectionable.
“Others have referred to this publication as a ‘manifesto’, but I consider it a crude booklet that promotes murder and terrorism. It is objectionable under New Zealand law,” says Chief Censor David Shanks.
The document, examined under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993 (FVPCA), is deemed objectionable for a number of reasons.
“It promotes, encourages and justifies acts of murder and terrorist violence against identified groups of people, ” says Mr Shanks.
“It identifies specific places for potential attack in New Zealand, and refers to the means by which other types of attack may be carried out. It contains justifications for acts of tremendous cruelty, such as the deliberate killing of children.”
“We have dealt with terrorist promotional material before which was deliberately designed to inspire, encourage and instruct other like-minded individuals to carry out further attacks. For example we have found a number of ISIS publications to be objectionable in previous decisions. This publication falls in the same category."
An objectionable classification for this publication is considered to be a justifiable limit on freedom of expression under the Bill of Rights Act in this case.
“There is an important distinction to be made between ‘hate speech’, which may be rejected by many right-thinking people but which is legal to express, and this type of publication, which is deliberately constructed to inspire further murder and terrorism,” says Mr Shanks.
“It crosses the line.”
It is recognised that the publication has been widely reported on over the past week, with many media outlets publishing commentary on it, and sometimes providing links to it or downloadable copies. Many New Zealanders may have read it, possibly seeking answers for why this dreadful atrocity took place.
Most people reading the publication will not be harmed by it. “Most New Zealanders who have read this will simply find it repellent. But most New Zealanders are not the target audience. It is aimed at a small group who may be receptive to its hateful, racist and violent ideology, and who may be inspired to follow the example set by its apparent author.”
It is an offence to possess or distribute an objectionable publication. People who have downloaded this document, or printed it, should destroy any copies.
Those engaged in further reporting on the Christchurch attack may be tempted to consider the use of quotes from the publication that have already been used in other media reports.
“That use of excerpts in media reports may not in itself amount to a breach of the FVPCA, but ethical considerations will certainly apply,” said Shanks.
“Real care needs to be taken around reporting on this publication, given that widespread media reporting on this material was clearly what the author was banking on, in order to spread their message.”
“We also appreciate that there will be a range of people, including reporters, researchers and academics, who will be in possession of the publication for a range of legitimate purposes, including education, analysis and in-depth reporting. Those individuals can apply for exemptions, so they can legitimately access and hold a copy.”
Information on this process can be found here.
“New Zealanders can all play a part in denying those who exhort hatred, killing and terror. If you have a copy of this publication, delete or destroy it. If you see it, report it. Do not support the murderous objectives of its author by republishing or distributing it.”
If you see material of this nature online, report it immediately.
To report harmful content on Twitter, click here.
To report harmful content on Facebook, click here.
To report harmful content on Instagram, click here.
To report harmful content on YouTube, click here.
Any harmful content should also be reported to the Department of Internal Affairs, click here.
Exemption info form The Great Replacement
Christchurch attack video footage and document has been banned in NZ – what this means for you
23 March 2019
Video footage of the Christchurch terror attack and the associated document (sometimes referred to as a 'manifesto') have been banned in New Zealand. Here’s some information about what this means for you and your family.
1.It’s illegal to have a copy of the video or document, or to share these with others.
If you or someone you know has a copy of the video or document these need to be deleted immediately, and any online posts or links to the video or document must be removed.
2.If you see links to the video or document, report it to NZ authorities
NZ enforcement agencies are encouraging people to report any social media posts, links or websites so that this material can be taken down. To report content, click here.
If you or someone you know are distressed and need to talk to someone, please free call or text 1737. You can also call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or text 'HELP' to 4357. The Ministry of Health has provided mental health advice for coping with trauma here.
Q
What if me or someone in my family has viewed or shared the video or document already?
The most important thing is to check that anyone who has seen the footage or read the document is ok. We’re aware that a number of people shared them immediately after the attacks, before they had any opportunity to reflect on what they were doing. Others saw the video without looking for it, or shared it by accident. We support a common sense approach to enforcement agencies about this. In a recent public statement, Chief Censor David Shanks said the following:
“I don’t think New Zealanders innocently caught up in the social media storm following these horrific events need to be concerned. The enforcement focus will likely be on those actively and maliciously involved in spreading this material, and taking actions such as deliberately distorting it to avoid blocks and detection software.”
People’s concern now should be to ensure that this material is deleted, reported, and taken offline. It’s done enough harm already.
The full video is 17 minutes long, if I see a shorter clip or images from the video, is this also banned?
The ban of the complete video does not automatically mean that any image or short extract from it is also banned. However any edited clips, screenshots or still images taken from the full video depicting scenes of violence, injury or death, or that promote terrorism, may also be illegal.
Guidance from Chief Censor
20 March 2019
Chief Censor David Shanks is providing more guidance regarding the 17 minute video of the fatal Christchurch shootings, which has been classified objectionable.
Some members of the public and the media are now seeking clarification on what that decision means for edited clips and still images taken from the video.
There are also concerns being raised around the potential for criminal charges against people who viewed or forwarded on the video during the period that it was widely available on various forums in the hours after the attack.
“While we do not have the numbers yet, it is clear that this video was ‘pushed’ to many innocent New Zealanders by various apps. We have had reports that it also ‘auto-played’ for some people who did not even know what it was,” says Mr Shanks.
“The video will also have been likely passed on by people in the immediate aftermath, before they had any opportunity to reflect on what it was and what impact it might have on people.”
It is now clearer as to what this video is, and its legal status has been determined. Mr Shanks says it is a record of a terrorist atrocity, specifically produced for the purpose of promoting a hateful terrorist agenda. It has almost certainly been harmful to many who have viewed it, and will likely continue to cause harm.
“Enforcement around objectionable material is a primary responsibility of the Department of Internal Affairs, and I have discussed with them the need for a balanced approach to enforcement in this case.”
“I don’t think New Zealanders innocently caught up in the social media storm following these horrific events need to be concerned. The enforcement focus will likely be on those actively and maliciously involved in spreading this material, and taking actions such as deliberately distorting it to avoid blocks and detection software,” says Mr Shanks.
“Every New Zealander should now be clear that this clip is an illegal, harmful and reprehensible record created to promote a terrorist cause. If you have a record of it, you must delete it. If you see it, you should report it. Possessing or distributing it is illegal, and only supports a criminal agenda.”
In terms of excerpts or stills taken from the video, Shanks noted that the classification of the complete video set did not automatically mean that any image or short extract from it was also objectionable.
“However it is very important for people to be aware that any edited clips, screenshots or still images taken from the full video, that depict scenes of violence, injury or death, or that promote terrorism, may well also be objectionable,” says Chief Censor David Shanks.
Shanks noted that given the horrific circumstances of this attack, and the clear deliberate strategy to use media to disseminate a terrorist message, news media and all New Zealanders needed to carefully consider the impact of sharing, broadcasting or publishing any part of this video.
“New Zealand’s news organisations have needed to make ethical judgements about what images they broadcast and print, and I think there is growing awareness about the potential impacts and harms of some of this material, and the need to balance this with the public’s right to information.”
In particular, I’m thinking here of survivors of the attack, victim’s families and friends, those in the Muslim community, those affected in Christchurch and others who have already been traumatised by the attacks last Friday,” says Mr Shanks.
“The bottom line is that even if something isn’t illegal, it may still cause harm to others and we all have a responsibility as citizens to consider that”, says Mr Shanks.
If you see footage of this nature online, report it immediately.
To report harmful content on Twitter, click here.
To report harmful content on Facebook, click here.
To report harmful content on Instagram, click here.
To report harmful content on YouTube, click here.
Any harmful content should also be reported to the Department of Internal Affairs, click here.
OFLC Response to Christchurch – What You Can Do
Christchurch shooting video officially objectionable
20 March 2019
Chief Censor David Shanks has officially classified the full 17 minute video of the fatal Christchurch shootings which occurred on Friday 15 March, as objectionable.
The footage, examined under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993, is deemed objectionable because of its depiction and promotion of extreme violence and terrorism.
“I took the step of ‘calling in’ this video over the weekend as a mechanism to fast-track the classification process,” says Mr Shanks.
Mr Shanks says the video contains exceedingly graphic real life images, which could cause significant harm to those who view it, especially for victims and their families.
An urgent process is currently underway to finalise a detailed report of the Chief Censor’s decision, this will be released within days.
It is illegal for anyone in New Zealand to view, possess or distribute this material in any form, including via social media platforms.
“We’re aware that for a time after the attacks, this video was widely available on social media and many New Zealanders saw it, sometimes without meaning to”.
“Its important people are now clear they should not view, download or share the video”, says Mr Shanks.
Our priority is to mitigate the harm caused by this material to the New Zealand public, and in particular to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the Christchurch terror attacks.
Associated with the video, it should be noted that a lengthy ‘manifesto’ document is being examined separately from the video footage and will take more time to consider.
There are resources to help those affected by viewing the footage and parents concerned about children and young people having viewed the video.
For information about coping with trauma, and helping your young ones cope with trauma see advice from the Ministry of Health here, and from The Parenting Place here. Further advice for parents and caregivers on discussing challenging media can be found here.
If you are distressed and need to talk to someone, please free call or text 1737. You can also call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or text 'HELP' to 4357. Connect with your friends and community. Remain close to your loved ones.
If you see footage of this nature online, report it immediately.
To report harmful content on Twitter, click here.
To report harmful content on Facebook, click here.
To report harmful content on Instagram, click here.
To report harmful content on YouTube, click here.
Any harmful content should also be reported to the Department of Internal Affairs, click here.

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