Full ban of ‘manifesto’ went too far according to some lawyers, not others

Some lawyers have said that the chief censors total ban of the Christchurch terrorist’s so-called manifesto went too far, but it isn’t a universal view.

Classification Office: Christchurch attack publication ‘The Great Replacement’ classified objectionable

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.”

Personally I think that it should not be shared, distributed, published or linked to from here and have asked that that not be done here – although selected quotes to make specific points seems reasonable.

RNZ: Legal experts say censorship on gunman’s manifesto went too far

…the Free Speech Coalition said the manifesto could be important for society to understand a dark part of our history.

“Most New Zealanders will have no interest in reading the rants of an evil person,” coalition spokesman and constitutional lawyer Stephen Franks said.

“But there is a major debate going on right now on the causes of extremism.

“Kiwis should not be wrapped in cotton wool with their news and information censored. New Zealanders need to be able to understand the nature of evil and how it expresses itself.”

Journalists, researchers and academics could apply for an exemption to the ban, but that was not practical when working on tight deadlines, Mr Edgeler said.

“Given the censor says that there are groups of people that should have access, imposing a full ban seems the wrong way to go.

“It needs to be perhaps quite restricted – you have to be at least 18, you have to work for a news organisation which is subject to the New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority or the New Zealand Media Council – and [it should be that] if you do that, yes, you can have a copy.”

But a lawyer with a different view:

But human rights lawyer Michael Bott said the ban was the right move, and requiring journalists and academics to make formal applications meant any dubious fringe publications or spurious research claims could be ruled out.

“The right to free speech can be constrained when it amounts to hate speech and there is a real risk that someone such as the Christchurch terrorist could basically become a martyr in the eyes of fringe groups who could then use the manifesto as a propaganda tool.

“The potential for harm is just so huge.”

Many publications that could pose a “risk of social harm” had been censored in New Zealand before this, Mr Bott said.

He said, historically, a number of left wing publications were banned in New Zealand, but more recent bans included Danish publication The Little Red School-Book that instructed schoolchildren on sex and drug use, and books with instructions for building guns.

The manifesto was dangerous because it promotes “views that are toxic to democratic society and a culture of tolerance”.

In this case they are reasonable reasons why it should not be distributed or published.

But that could be a slippery slope. Accusations of toxic views and claims of intolerance are common in politics.

I have no interest in reading the manifesto, and see no good reason why most people would want to read it, but it should be able to be examined by researchers and journalists.

 

46 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  25th March 2019

    Anyone can be a journalist now. It’s a disgraceful, useless and harmful ban.

    Disgraceful because it attacks humanity’s right to know, useless because those likely to misuse it will still easily access it, and harmful because it will stop decent people reading, analyzing and critiquing it.

    • Corky

       /  25th March 2019

      Tautoko. I wonder if the chief censor made his decision by the simple expedient of saving himself a public whipping for not doing what the public expected… verses what should be constitutionally correct in a supposedly free democracy.

      ”The manifesto was dangerous because it promotes “views that are toxic to democratic society and a culture of tolerance”.

      Like thinking twice before disciplining your children? Like you daughter having an abortion behind your back, and it’s illegal for anyone to inform the parents…stuff like that?

      To be fair, maybe impressionable teens will stop playing Fortnite and be influenced by this rambling jumble of words.

      • Duker

         /  25th March 2019

        The Censor has said he banned similiar terrorist screeds from ISIS. He knows better than you

        • Corky

           /  25th March 2019

          It’s a judgement call. So he doesn’t know better than me..or anyone else. I would like a comparison between this manifesto and the ISIS material.

          • Duker

             /  25th March 2019

            It’s not a judgement call, the laws specifically calls for banning advocacy of terrorist acts. That’s why he knows better than you because the censor can’t use ignorance as an excuse

            • Corky

               /  25th March 2019

              Just heard him talking to Mikey. He said he originally didn’t want to ban the manifesto because that would draw attention to it.

              However, he said , comparing it to ISIS literature, and working within the framework guidelines it became apparent to him the manifesto was terrorist related and needed to be banned.

              The public have to take his word for that. But if you compare the manifesto to with stuff on Jihadi sites, I think there is a difference.

              As I said above:

              ”I would like a comparison between this manifesto and the ISIS material.”

              The ignorance is yours for taking his word for granted. Perhaps you should do some checking of your own?

            • Duker

               /  25th March 2019

              Both advocate terrorism or in the words of the relevant act
              “Promotes or encourages criminal acts or acts of terrorism”

              So you are an expert on terrorism now are you. or are really just another run of the mill [self censored] who see no harm at all.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  25th March 2019

              Yet another bad law that should be broken widely.

            • Corky

               /  25th March 2019

              ”So you are an expert on terrorism now are you. or are really just another run of the mill [self censored] who see no harm at all.”

              Obviously you are just being prattish. A little like your knee-jerk reaction of a week ago.

              I could say more about comparisons because I have done that. But unfortunately it won’t be possible to post that mainly because of the ISIS material..and the censors ruling.

              If you have read the manifesto, there is nothing stopping you making comparisons.

              No need to self censor…let Pete do that.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  25th March 2019

        I imagine that the Censor is not the fool that some people take him for and that he has read plenty of ISIS material. I am happy to take his word for it.

        There is nothing to be gained by making this public and giving the writer of it free publicity and oxygen.

        It comes into the category of material that promotes terrorism. Those who want to read it will have to be disappointed in their wish, just as those who want to see the people’s terror, their heads being blown off, their dying agony and the faces of the small children as they die will have to be disappointed.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  25th March 2019

        There is no connection at all between this document and ‘thinking twice before disciplining (i.e.assaulting ) your children’ or ‘your daughter having an abortion behind your back’ because medical confidentiality laws mean that nobody can break patient confidentiality and tell another person which medical procedures someone has had.

        I suspect that, in reality, people who bash their children don’t think twice.

    • Blazer

       /  25th March 2019

      who will rate them on the scale?…’decent people’…imagine if someone like you…did!🤷‍♂️

  2. lurcher1948

     /  25th March 2019

    [Please don’t suggest how people might be able to access the manifesto. PG]

    Knowledge shouldn’t be suppressed,not that I have read it

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  25th March 2019

      This isn’t knowledge, it’s advocating terrorism.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  25th March 2019

    Bott cites “The Little Red Schoolbook” ban in 1969 as the most recent precedent with apparent approval. What an idiot. That ban was a farce, ensured its message was widely disseminated, reinforced its anti-establishment views and brought censorship into contempt.

    All this current ban will achieve is to ensure nasty and dangerous people will think the manifesto is worth reading.

    • Duker

       /  25th March 2019

      The censor has contradicted that in saying, and he should know, that ISIS manifestos have been banned much more recently.
      As far as NZ goes The Little Red Schoolbook WASNT banned here
      https://www.censor.org.nz/resources/history/1950s-1960s-and-1970s/1970/

      • Corky

         /  25th March 2019

        As a matter of fact you are right. I remember being 15 years old. An elderly proprietor of a Tauranga bookstore peered over his glasses and asked ” how old are you, son.” ”I’ll be 18 next week I lied.” He then told me not to read it before my birthday. I think it cost $3.50.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  25th March 2019

          Was that in 1969 ?

          $3.50 seems a lot for a book then.

  4. Duker

     /  25th March 2019

    Since when is Stphen Frank’s a constitutional lawyer?
    Before he became an ACT MP he was a high priced tax and corporate lawyer and was probably worth it for his expertise. A term or 2 in parliament doesn’t transform you into a constitutional lawyer

  5. duperez

     /  25th March 2019

    The Little Red School Book was published by Alister Taylor whose stuff was characterised by ‘arty-farty’ design.

    The Christchurch terrorist’s ‘manifesto’ lends itself perfectly to creative publication. I would have it printed on toilet paper. The first lot put out, the ‘author’s edition’ if you like, would be delivered to his cell. He could sit on the bog and read to his heart’s content.

    While some would think such action would be cruel, I’m sure many would get pleasure out of knowing that until his final day the guy would find a daily use for two of his life’s outputs.

  6. patupaiarehe

     /  25th March 2019

    IMHO rather than being censored, people should be encouraged to read it, to see how he attempts to justify his terrible acts. Personally, reading it has made me have a really hard think about some of my own beliefs, and how I came to hold them. The reaction from the Muslim community to these atrocities is the complete opposite to what I would have expected, due to my own prejudices. Prejudices that have been fed by the likes of WO, certain politicians, and to a lesser degree the MSM. In the past I’ve quite willingly accepted their opinions on the Islamic faith as fact, whereas what I have seen over the past week tells a completely different story.

    • “In the past I’ve quite willingly accepted their opinions on the Islamic faith as fact, whereas what I have seen over the past week tells a completely different story.”

      Same for me, and I think for a lot of people.

      I saw people distraught and grieving, as you would expect any ordinary person to be. I saw men openly grieving, showing understandable human emotions.

      I saw women wearing head scarves expressing admiration and love for their husbands.

      I saw Muslim clerics willingly sharing stages with people of many other religions, praying together, expressing similar sentiments.

      Ordinary people, ordinary families, ordinary business people and employees, who happen to have what amounts to slightly different religious beliefs.

      • Corky

         /  25th March 2019

        Hold up, Pete.

        “In the past I’ve quite willingly accepted their opinions on the Islamic faith as fact, whereas what I have seen over the past week tells a completely different story.”

        It’s the other way around. I never paid much attention to Islam. Even after 911, I thought those were just ”one off” nutters. That all changed when I went to Britain in 2008. I saw a country within a country. My host told me certain areas were off limits to non Muslims.
        You could go into those areas, but it was made known to you they could really do without you. Your safety couldn’t be guaranteed. Especially from youths.

        My impression of those Muslims were of surly passionless people. Those were my perceptions..right or wrong.

        Fast forward to Your NZ. I post continuously about the problems of Islam in the West. I am continually met by opposition from you and others going into bat for Islam. Basically telling me my opinions are skewered. You were one of my kinder critics. The impression I got was
        you held no prejudices against Islam..some concerns, yes, but that’s all. You stated repeatedly Muslims have never been a problem in New Zealand. I took that to mean you paid little heed to what others thought of Islam.

        So, it would seem you have been proven correct. The last week has seen grateful Muslims. Sharing Muslims. And Muslims acting like we would. I detected no put-ons..everything was genuine and heartfelt.

        So how can I square that with my experiences in Manchester? Simple, it’s a numbers game.
        As numbers increase, good Muslims are increasing sidelined as agitators move in.

        The good news is we are a small country.. we also have a different vibe. Such agitators could far more easily be sidelined in our country. That will be up to the Muslim community.

        • “going into bat for Islam”

          I have never ‘gone in to bat’ for Islam. What I have done is challenge unsupported, distorting fearmongering, which I think is at least as much threat here as a small minority of Muslims in the world who are violent radicals.

          “My impression of those Muslims were of surly passionless people.”

          I see that often in New Zealand – and not from Muslims.

          “You stated repeatedly Muslims have never been a problem in New Zealand.”

          No I didn’t.

          “So, it would seem you have been proven correct.”

          No I don’t think so. Anyone who keeps predicting violence can claim to be correct eventually, even when what happens isn’t actually what they predicted.

          “The last week has seen grateful Muslims. Sharing Muslims. And Muslims acting like we would. I detected no put-ons..everything was genuine and heartfelt.

          Shouldn’t that be applauded and encouraged? I think it’s far better than people promoting doom and violence as inevitable.

          ” Simple, it’s a numbers game.
          As numbers increase, good Muslims are increasing sidelined as agitators move in.”

          I presume that’s based on no evidence that increasing numbers of Muslims are ‘agitators’. and not English immigrants, or non-Muslim Indian immigrants, or Chinese immigrants – or Australian immigrants visitors.

          “Such agitators could far more easily be sidelined in our country. That will be up to the Muslim community.”

          Here you go targeting the victims. Confronting agitators is surely up to all of use.

          In my opinion you are use tactics of an agitator here. You’re trying to agitate for intolerance of immigrants of a certain religion. That’s a big concern.

          • Conspiratoor

             /  25th March 2019

            “Tolerance is the last virtue of a dying society” – aristotle

            Corky clearly has concerns about the effects of immigration from other cultures pg. How is he supposed to express these concerns without you and others jumping on him and branding him as intolerant?

            • Are you suggesting I tolerate whatever Corky wants to say here unquestioningly?

              He has had ample opportunity to express his concerns. But if I and others have concerns about what he has kept saying can’t we ‘brand’ him how we see his views? Actually I don’t think I have done much to brand him, I have just criticised some of what he has said.

              Corky is clearly on the intolerant end of the scale when it comes to Islam and Muslims.

              He has mistaken criticism of his fairly extreme position to support of the opposite – as he has done here – but that’s nonsense.

              In the past Protestants and Catholics have had to learn to be more tolerant of each other and their differences, even though their religious differences were largely very minor.

              Now we have to put more effort into tolerating Islam alongside Christianity, atheism alongside Islam, atheism alongside Christianity, and all other religious persuasions. I’ve been told on Kiwiblog I’m destined for hell for not agreeing with someone else’s beliefs, I’ve been told I can’t have any moral standing. I’ve also in the past critic9sed people for believing in a god, but I have since learnt more tolerance on that – many people benefit from their religious beliefs, regardless of what they may be.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  25th March 2019

              Because he is intolerant and doesn’t hesitate to post lies to make his bigoted points. He acts as if all Muslims, or most, are terrorists. He attributes actions and demands to them that are total fabrications. He posted a video that supposedly showed Muslims destroying a pub because they are opposed to alcohol, when the video shows that the pub patrons were throwing furniture and eyewitnesses confirm this.

              He quotes the old saw about x% of the population being Muslim means various unproved results. He sees no difference between radical Muslims and refugees from radical regimes.

              He asked me if I feel safe with my GP who happens to be a Muslim.

  7. The Consultant

     /  25th March 2019

    For example we have found a number of ISIS publications to be objectionable in previous decisions.

    Well actually I’d like to read those, because I’d like to know what drives the nutters and I’d like to form my own opinion rather than having others think for me.

    “The right to free speech can be constrained when it amounts to hate speech

    Some Islamic groups claimed that cartoon images of the prophet were hate speech, which was a clever way of conflating the traditional religious concept of blasphemy, which secular people reject, with the modern secular concept of “hate speech”.

    Which is why “hate speech” is a frightening, Orwellian concept compared to the simply, unarguable standard of speech that incites violence.

    and this type of publication, which is deliberately constructed to inspire further murder and terrorism,”

    Say’s him. I want to judge for myself. I can point to publications that do the same things – starting with the Bible’s Old Testament, the Koran and the writings of Che, Lenin and Trotsky They don’t exactly hold back on demanding that people be murdered and terrorised and they explain why.

    People who have downloaded this document, or printed it, should destroy any copies.

    Another example of why censorship of anything is nonsense nowadays. It’s called a URL and it’s the only thing stored in the computer or written down. And if that’s banned there’s Google, DuckDuckGo and countless others. Trying to clamp down on all that can only be done by a police state.

    “We also appreciate that there will be a range of people, including reporters, researchers and academics,

    Oh? They’re smarter than me? More in control of their emotions? Less ignorant of history? What other qualities do these special people have that they can hold a copy and I can’t?

    In fact we’ve already seen the harm that can arise, as these special people have highlighted the nutty White Supremacist parts of the document, but ignored the nutty Green ecology parts.

    That narrative approach is not exactly helping build a tolerant society.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  25th March 2019

      Agree 100%. We are ruled by idiots.

      • duperez

         /  25th March 2019

        Being ruled by idiots is to be expected. Our representatives should be representative.There are clearly many idiots in our community.

    • Duker

       /  25th March 2019

      Most of what you have said is nonsense Consultant

      eg”Another example of why censorship of anything is nonsense nowadays. It’s called a URL and it’s the only thing stored in the computer or written down. ”

      No its not , your computer internet cache stores the entire page from the url- most caches are easily between 250-900MB is size .It definitely is a download. Improve your basic computer knowledge before commenting on that

      “Well actually I’d like to read those, because I’d like to know what drives the nutters ”

      The law says advocating/promoting terrorism is objectionable material and to be banned , Their wording is this

      (a) Describes, depicts, or otherwise deals with –
      (i) Acts of torture, the infliction of serious physical harm, or acts of significant cruelty:
      (ii) Sexual violence, or sexual coercion, or violence or coercion in association with sexual conduct:
      (iii) Other sexual or physical conduct of a degrading or dehumanising or demeaning nature:
      (iv) Sexual conduct with or by children, or young persons, or both:
      (v) Physical conduct in which sexual satisfaction is derived from inflicting or suffering cruelty or pain:
      (b) Exploits the nudity or children, or young persons, or both: (c) Degrades or dehumanises or demeans any person:
      (d) Promotes or encourages criminal acts or acts of terrorism;

      Why the sudden interest in any or one of the above, is personal curiosity. ? have you always had that of is it very recent.
      Im sure the censor has a pile of material that he bans under all those categorys every week, strange that you should be only interested now

      What you have to consider is that people ARE radicalised by ISIS and different people ARE radicalised by White Supremacists.
      And they GET IT ALL ONLINE.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  25th March 2019

        The cache is temporary if you use eg chrome incognito access.

        The sudden interest is obviously because ISIS terrorism has apparently provoked counter terrorism in NZ.

        “They” will continue to get it all online.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  25th March 2019

        Just to point out the obsolete stupidity of the law, when you click on a link you may have very little information about what will be downloaded to your computer. Yet if it is something banned by the time you know you have already committed an offence. The law remains an ass.

        • Duker

           /  25th March 2019

          Really , the accidentally viewed a 72 page manifesto excuse when you were looking for macadamia chocolate cake.
          There are everyday breaches of laws all the time, doesnt mean they are ‘stupid’ . But the followers of these manifestos and their supporters ARE stupid and can be tracked.
          remember last week they arrested a Christchurch tradesman for allegedly distributing the banned video- hes well known as [ self censored] supporter. A good catch.
          maybe they will have a file of the ISP user ids of all those who viewed it . maybe they will only connect the dots if they are aware of guns owned by those ‘viewers’ and decide some further investigation , mabe a forensic analysis of the computer hardrive may find other banned material . maybe those people will all acess to guns revoked / Who knows

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  25th March 2019

            Oh, the old “it will never happen to me” excuse for injustice.

            And another bad law that can be selectively applied according to the whim of the prosecutor and the public emotion of the moment.

            Reality check: a law that can be broken without any way of preventing it is a bad law.

            Further reality check: even reading quotes from the manifesto may be illegal according to the censor.

            Bonkers bad.

            • Duker

               /  25th March 2019

              off to the gulag for you then.
              We seemingly have hundreds of things banned year after year, all which you feel “entitled to watch/read” .
              Who knew your freedoms had completely disappeared.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  25th March 2019

              Exactly, hundreds of things banned. Who is going to know if something they click on has been banned? It’s mad.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  25th March 2019

              Let alone whether it will be banned? Even madder.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  25th March 2019

              Child porn is banned, although some people feel entitled to watch it,

              I don’t need to see it to know that it’s disgusting to have an adult man fucking a small child. It’s not ‘making love’ or even ‘having sex with’. It’s being done TO the child.

              I don’t need to see bestiality and animals being tortured to know how abhorrent it is.

  8. Patzcuaro

     /  25th March 2019

    The Manifesto didn’t kill anybody, the legally obtained firearms did that.

  9. Fight4NZ

     /  25th March 2019

    This post has drawn without doubt the largest collection of mindlessly self-indulgent proclaimations i have seen yet.
    Arguments that boil down to ‘I want to and now I’m having a tantrum because the grownups won’t let me do what I want ‘. And seeing that heavily spoilt child behavior makes statements like Chief Censor can’t do that or that law that I don’t like is a bad one, repeatedly, is simply farcical.
    Bad material is legally defined and dealt with. The zero value of indulging your unsatisfied want is grounds for zero. Grow up.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  25th March 2019

      Go and grovel before your lawmakers then. That’s all you’re good for.

  1. Full ban of ‘manifesto’ went too far according to some lawyers, not others — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition