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6 charged with spreading New Zealand mosque shooting video online

Published: April 15, 2019
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Source: cbsnews.com

Wellington, New Zealand -- Six people appeared in a New Zealand court Monday on charges they illegally redistributed the video a gunman livestreamed as he shot worshippers at two mosques last month. Christchurch District Court Judge Stephen O'Driscoll denied bail to businessman Philip Arps and an 18-year-old suspect who both were taken into custody in March. The four others are not in custody.

The charge of supplying or distributing objectionable material carries a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment. Arps, 44, is scheduled to next appear in court via video link on April 26.

The 18-year-old suspect is charged with sharing the livestream video and a still image of the Al Noor mosque with the words "target acquired." He will reappear in court on July 31 when electronically monitored bail will be considered.

Police prosecutor Pip Currie opposed bail for the 18-year-old suspect and said the second charge, involving the words added to the still image, was of significant concern.

 

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Following the Christchurch mosque shooting, the New Zealand government swiftly declared footage and photos of the shooting illegal and started rounding up citizens who violated the censorship body's new declaration. The government of its closest neighbor has responded to the tragedy in a similar fashion, outlawing the sharing of "abhorrent violent material."

In the wake of the Christchurch shooting massacre in New Zealand, there has been a somewhat odd focus on the internet platforms -- mainly those that ended up hosting copies of the killer's livestream of the attack. As we previously discussed, this is literally blaming the messenger, and taking away focus from the much deeper issues that led up to the attack. Still, in response, Microsoft's Brad Smith decided to step forward with a plan to coordinate among big internet companies a system for blocking and taking down such content.

Following the recent mass shooting in New Zealand, the county's government swiftly declared the live footage of the attack, along with the shooter's manifesto, "objectionable." This classification is more than a condemnation: it made both illegal to possess or distribute.

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