Jacinda Ardern ‘opinion’ in NY Times

An opinion piece from Jacinda Ardern has been published in the New York Times. This isn’t available from the official Beehive news release website, so I presume it’s intended as a message to the world rather than to the people of New Zealand.

Her aim (as stated) is not as some people claim, to shut down free speech or to stop critics from speaking. There is absolutely no evidence as some claim that Ardern is fronting some sort of UN conspiracy to take over the world and subjugate the world population.

She says:

Our aim may not be simple, but it is clearly focused: to end terrorist and violent extremist content online. This can succeed only if we collaborate.

The vast majority of us, nearly all of us, are not terrorists or violent extremists, so we hopefully have little to fear from what she is trying to achieve internationally.

A terrorist attack like the one in Christchurch could happen again unless we change. New Zealand could reform its gun laws, and we did. We can tackle racism and discrimination, which we must. We can review our security and intelligence settings, and we are. But we can’t fix the proliferation of violent content online by ourselves. We need to ensure that an attack like this never happens again in our country or anywhere else.

Of course it is up to us here in New Zealand to engage with discussions over free speech and hate speech and terrorism and extremism and attempts to promote violence online, to help ensure that social media regulations are intended for the extreme minority and shouldn’t affect the rest of us.


Social media needs reform. No one should be able to broadcast mass murder.

By Jacinda Ardern
Ms. Ardern is the prime minister of New Zealand.

At 1:40 p.m. on Friday, March 15, a gunman entered a mosque in the city of Christchurch and shot dead 41 people as they worshiped.

He then drove for six minutes to another mosque where, at 1:52 p.m., he entered and took the lives of another seven worshipers in just three minutes. Three more people died of their injuries after the attack.

For New Zealand this was an unprecedented act of terror. It shattered our small country on what was otherwise an ordinary Friday afternoon. I was on my way to visit a new school, people were preparing for the weekend, and Kiwi Muslims were answering their call to prayer. Fifty men, women and children were killed that day. Thirty-nine others were injured; one died in the hospital weeks later, and some will never recover.

This attack was part of a horrifying new trend that seems to be spreading around the world: It was designed to be broadcast on the internet.

The entire event was live-streamed — for 16 minutes and 55 seconds — by the terrorist on social media. Original footage of the live stream was viewed some 4,000 times before being removed from Facebook. Within the first 24 hours, 1.5 million copies of the video had been taken down from the platform. There was one upload per second to YouTube in the first 24 hours.

The scale of this horrific video’s reach was staggering. Many people report seeing it autoplay on their social media feeds and not realizing what it was — after all, how could something so heinous be so available? I use and manage my social media just like anyone else. I know the reach of this video was vast, because I too inadvertently saw it.

We can quantify the reach of this act of terror online, but we cannot quantify its impact. What we do know is that in the first week and a half after the attack, 8,000 people who saw it called mental health support lines here in New Zealand.

My job in the immediate aftermath was to ensure the safety of all New Zealanders and to provide whatever assistance and comfort I could to those affected. The world grieved with us. The outpouring of sorrow and support from New Zealanders and from around the globe was immense. But we didn’t just want grief; we wanted action.

Our first move was to pass a law banning the military-style semiautomatic guns the terrorist used. That was the tangible weapon.

But the terrorist’s other weapon was live-streaming the attack on social media to spread his hateful vision and inspire fear. He wanted his chilling beliefs and actions to attract attention, and he chose social media as his tool.

We need to address this, too, to ensure that a terrorist attack like this never happens anywhere else. That is why I am leading, with President Emmanuel Macron of France, a gathering in Paris on Wednesday not just for politicians and heads of state but also the leaders of technology companies. We may have our differences, but none of us wants to see digital platforms used for terrorism.

Our aim may not be simple, but it is clearly focused: to end terrorist and violent extremist content online. This can succeed only if we collaborate.

Numerous world leaders have committed to going to Paris, and the tech industry says it is open to working more closely with us on this issue — and I hope they do. This is not about undermining or limiting freedom of speech. It is about these companies and how they operate.

I use Facebook, Instagram and occasionally Twitter. There’s no denying the power they have and the value they can provide. I’ll never forget a few days after the March 15 attack a group of high school students telling me how they had used social media to organize and gather in a public park in Christchurch to support their school friends who had been affected by the massacre.

Social media connects people. And so we must ensure that in our attempts to prevent harm that we do not compromise the integral pillar of society that is freedom of expression.

But that right does not include the freedom to broadcast mass murder.

And so, New Zealand will present a call to action in the name of Christchurch, asking both nations and private corporations to make changes to prevent the posting of terrorist content online, to ensure its efficient and fast removal and to prevent the use of live-streaming as a tool for broadcasting terrorist attacks. We also hope to see more investment in research into technology that can help address these issues.

The Christchurch call to action will build on work already being undertaken around the world by other international organizations. It will be a voluntary framework that commits signatories to counter the drivers of terrorism and put in place specific measures to prevent the uploading of terrorist content.

A terrorist attack like the one in Christchurch could happen again unless we change. New Zealand could reform its gun laws, and we did. We can tackle racism and discrimination, which we must. We can review our security and intelligence settings, and we are. But we can’t fix the proliferation of violent content online by ourselves. We need to ensure that an attack like this never happens again in our country or anywhere else.

 

 

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22 Comments

  1. Reply
    • Gezza

       /  12th May 2019

      “Summit on Terrorism” isn’t what I would call it.
      That list of attendees looks pretty damn sparse & lightweight.

      Reply
  2. Pink David

     /  12th May 2019

    ” We need to ensure that an attack like this never happens again in our country or anywhere else.”

    Yesterday 4 terrorists attacked the Pearl Continental in Gwadar with automatic weapons with the goal of killing Chinese hotel guests. They were intercepted by a heavily armed Army unit and all were killed with only one hotel guard dying in the attack.

    Please explain how your censoring of social media would have prevented this attack.

    Please explain the polices you wish to enact that will ENSURE this never happens again.

    “But that right does not include the freedom to broadcast mass murder.”

    Well, now, it may be a surprise to Ardern, but this, as well as murder, is already a crime.

    Reply
  3. Pink David

     /  12th May 2019

    This is video of Ardern making her speech…

    Reply
  4. Gezza

     /  12th May 2019

    A terrorist attack like the one in Christchurch could happen again unless we change.

    A suicide bomber killed 8 & wounded 15 in Sadr City in Baghdad a few days ago. I don’t think Anders Breivik was inspired by seeing a massacre like his on social media or YouTube first. People like him & Tarrant come out of nowhere. It’s only ever with hindsight do authorities see “signs” they missed.

    The Sri Lanka bombers seem to have been an unusual outrage in that adequate warning was given but ignored by authorities – but even then I think the number of people imvolved might’ve taken them by surprise. It obviously wasn’t a response to Christchurch.

    I’m fine with trying to prevent somebody like Tarrant or any other mass murderer from flooding the internet with live streaming of their crime but over-hype like that bit in italics above irks me.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  12th May 2019

      Tarrant was the first Terrorist who live streamed- he was ‘created’ by the internet and lived for infamy on the internet.
      ‘People like him & Tarrant come out of nowhere.” An absurd statement.

      People are happy to understand that ISIS and its followers worked by radicalising ordinary people but just cant accept the same happens with white supremacists – I wonder why?

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  12th May 2019

        Many people do accept this, but radicalising ordinary people is an over-simplification. If someone is not interested, they won’t be. Ads aim to make people buy things, but if people don’t want them, they won’t buy them.

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  12th May 2019

        What I am saying is that mass shooters & “terrorists” of any kind are just as likely – perhaps even more likely – to be inspired by the constant in your face news days of reports of such killings as they are by Tarrant live streaming his attack. And the same is just as lkely true of many Islamic terrorist suicide attacks overseas. Do you think 9/11 was inspired by ISIS ?

        Suicide attackers & mass shooters have been at it for decades.

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  12th May 2019

        Tarrant was the first Terrorist who live streamed- he was ‘created’ by the internet and lived for infamy on the internet.
        An absurd statement. Whatever made him hate like that has yet to be established but he travelled & will more likely simply have found the sort of hateful stuff n the internet that fitted his hateful views. Have you seen hateful white supremacist material & suddenly become one? Daft.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  12th May 2019

          “Whatever made him hate like that has yet to be established”

          really? Its the same old same old for the white supremacist type
          Everyone who knew him said he spent a lot of his time on internet – right wing hate group sites have been mentioned.
          “Tarrant exchanged in far-right forums , over Reddit and over 8chan . On the Facebook pages of the right-wing organizations United Patriots Front and True Blue Crew in Australia, which have since been shut down” – Tarrant wrote that he also read the writings of Dylann Roof
          he had a manifesto online , he live streamed his terrorist attack

          of course, its mystery where he got this stuff…a mystery some will tell you !

          Reply
      • Pink David

         /  12th May 2019

        “he was ‘created’ by the internet”

        Risible nonsense.

        Reply
    • A terrorist attack like the one in Christchurch

      A terrorist attack? The Police are not charging Brendan Tarrant with terrorism, they are charging him with murder. Does Ardern not know why? Or is she cynically misusing the emotive word “terrorist”?

      Perhaps our PM cannot distinguish between Tarrant’s acts of vengeance and the acts he was avenging? Revenge, however unacceptable, even wicked in this case, is not terrorism. We should deeply suspect the motives of those who seek to conflate the two.

      PS: I am told by a youngster who has seen the video that it is little different from the Hollywood trash churned out daily on Netflix. And doubtless his ‘manifesto’ is much the same. Those about to pontificate in Paris would be better to address the actual causes of these things, rather than smugly throwing other people’s dollars and freedoms at the symptoms. A grasp of the Streisand Effect wouldn’t go amiss either.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  12th May 2019

        “Does Ardern not know why? ” – perhaps you would know politicians dont get asked by the police on these things. Any way the investigation is ongoing, more charges may be added or they may separate the murder & terrorist charges to separate trials

        Clearly you are an aplogist for him and muddled to boot.
        “Cannot distinguish between Tarrant’s acts of vengeance and the acts he was avenging? Revenge, however unacceptable, even wicked in this case, is not terrorism. ‘

        Terrorism is attacks on civilians for political purposes… look it up. he cant have suffered any hurt so revenge isnt a motive

        Reply
        • Kimbo

           /  12th May 2019

          I’m no apologist for the perp, but you are using “revenge” and “terrorism” as a false dichotomy. They can be both, even if the revenge is for something someone else directly suffered. Or at at very least it is a pretext for someone who claims they are in solidarity with and an agent on behalf of someone else who alleged suffered unjustly. Such as, say Timothy McVeigh timing his attack to coincide with the 2nd anniversary of the storming of the Branch Davidian compound.

          Reply
      • phantom snowflake

         /  12th May 2019

        God forbid that anyone use an “emotive” word to describe the slaughter of 50 innocent people!

        Reply
  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  12th May 2019

    The answer to too much bureaucracy is always more bureaucracy. So we gave you Kiwibuild.

    The answer to too much hidden hate speech is more hiding. So we will ban everything we think is dangerous.

    Reply
  6. oldlaker

     /  12th May 2019

    If we were to believe Ardern that terrorism is largely created by the internet we would have terrible trouble explaining the terror of the French Revolution, Nazism or any other similar parts of history. Sometimes I think her lack of historical knowledge (degree in marketing anyone?) really shows through. She is often plainly embarrassing in her simplistic view of society and how it works..

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  12th May 2019

      Its clearly our modern terrorists – because we know they arent meeting in revolutionary cells and coffee shops.
      Do you think these things could possibly be connected in some way the internet
      ‘“Tarrant exchanged in far-right forums , over Reddit and over 8chan . On the Facebook pages of the right-wing organizations United Patriots Front and True Blue Crew in Australia”

      So its OK to acknowledge Middle eastern terrorist groups radicalise online but impossible when its a white person.
      Ive heard that many dating sites are online too…. amazing this intenet thingy…and they con people into a relationship without even meeting them . Tell me it isnt so!

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  12th May 2019

        I’m trying to remember when politicians banned phone calls and letters because they were dangerous and could be misused.

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  12th May 2019

        Ah, ok. I’m getting your point better now. I think Tarrant was a racist white supremacist who used the internet to share & bloster his hatred among like-minded indivuduals. If he hadn’t been able to do that, & didn’t want to impress some of them, would he still have committed this massacre? I dunno. Maybe not.

        I’ve got no problem with social media platforms removing anything advocating or glorifying terrorism or murder. All I’m saying is I doubt that will stop it happening.

        Reply
  1. Attendance at Ardern and Macron’s social media summit in Paris | Your NZ
  2. Jacinda Ardern ‘opinion’ in NY Times — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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