Those who shared Christchurch attack video face up to 14 years' jail

NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 19 March 2019, 10:53AM
Chief Censor David Shanks. Photo / Mark Mitchell.
Chief Censor David Shanks. Photo / Mark Mitchell.

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" - meaning it is banned.

That raises the prospect of a fine of up to $10,000 or up to 14 years' jail for anyone who shares the clip - and this morning, Privacy Commissioner John Edwards called on Facebook to share names with police.

"Facebook should be notifying the police of the account names of people who have shared this content," Edwards told RNZ.

"It's not a conflict I think because at the core there is a very egregious offence to the dignity and the rights to privacy of the victims."

The Herald has asked Facebook for comment.

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, Shanks said.

Alleged shooter Brenton Tarrant's 75-page manifesto is still being assessed.

Earlier, Deputy Chief Censor Jared Mullen outlined the penalties for sharing banned material.

"If you didn't know the material was objectionable and you were found in possession of it, a maximum fine of $10,000 could apply," he told the Herald.

"If you knew the content was objectionable and were found in possession of it - the legal test here is 'knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the publication is objectionable' - a maximum term of 14 years imprisonment could apply."

In the case of the Christchurch clip, the situation has been complicated by Google-owned YouTube's decision to allow edited versions of the footage.

People who see footage of the shooting video are asked to report it via this DIA site.

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