Aust acts to block NZ terror video access

Australia is trying to block access to websites that show video of the Christchurch terror attacks

The Australian eSafety Commissioner on Monday issued a direction to the nation's "largest" internet service providers (ISPs) to continue blocking websites that host the video of the Christchurch terrorist attack. Sites including 4chan, 8chan, Kiwi Farms, Encyclopaedia Dramatica, Live Leak, Voat and Zerohedge were believed to be blocked, at least temporarily, by some or all of the ISPs.

The eight websites that have been blocked have not been named, likely to avoid drawing any further attention to them.

Julie Inman Grant, Australia's eSafety Commissioner, said that in addition to prevent Australians from accessing the traumatizing content, it was important to block the websites to prevent the recruitment of other terrorists.

He also added, "We are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes, including taking action locally and globally". A review process will be conducted every six months for potential appeals.

"We can not allow this type of horrific material to be used to incite further violence or terrorist acts", Minister Fletcher said. Communications Minister Paul Fletcher likewise said blocks did not signify a "universal solution".


The Commissioner reiterated that the government had an "extremely high threshold" for online material and that powers would only be used "under extraordinary circumstances".

New rules governing the broadcast of violent material have been exercised in an Australian first, with the government ordering telcos to block access to eight different sites that are hosting vision of the Christchurch massacre that killed 51 people. And of course, there are questions over whether or not the government should block sites in the first place.

The eSafety Commissioner said she is still working with those social media companies to figure out how to deal with future crises. Devising such arrangements was a recommendation of the Australian Taskforce To Combat Terrorist And Extreme Violent Material Online.

The Government's commitment to addressing this type of horrific material was again demonstrated during the August G7 Summit in Biarritz, when Prime Minister Morrison announced a new OECD project to develop voluntary transparency reporting protocols for the major online platforms. "We welcome and encourage further support for this project", a statement released at the time by the PM said.

"Digital industry will benefit from establishing a global level playing field".

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