Jacinda Ardern on CNN on gun laws and extremist use of social media

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda is getting more international attention after speaking to CNN as she prepares for meetings and a summit in Paris on the use of social media by violent extremists.

CNN:  New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern ‘does not understand’ why US has failed to toughen gun laws

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she does “not understand” why the United States has not passed stronger gun laws in the aftermath of mass shooting events.

Ahead of a summit on online extremism, Ardern was responding to a question by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour asking whether countries can learn from New Zealand.

The Prime Minister said guns have a “practical purpose” in New Zealand but “that does not mean you need access to military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles.”

“Australia experienced a massacre and changed their laws. New Zealand had its experience and changed its laws. To be honest, I do not understand the United States”.

On Ardern’s ‘Christchurch Call’:

Ardern told CNN on Tuesday that the meeting “is not about regulation, it is about bringing companies to the table,” adding that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has given “Facebook’s support to this call to action.”

The focus will “very much be on violent extremism,” she said. The pledge will not limit or curtail “the freedom of expression.”

Facebook removed 1.5 million videos of the Christchurch attacks in the first 24 hours after the massacre. It also blocked 1.2 million of them at upload, meaning they would not have been seen by users.

“When it came to the way this attack was specifically designed to be broadcast and to go viral, (responding) to that needed a global solution, so that was why we immediately got in contact with international counterparts”.

RNZ also covered this, and have details on what is happening in Paris.

Ms Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron are hosting the meeting of world leaders and tech giants to look at how to stop extremism spreading online.

Heads of state from Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Jordan, Senegal, Indonesia and the European Union are attending, though US President Donald Trump is absent.

Ms Ardern said co-operation on ending extremist content online was the least that should be expected from Facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook is absent from the meeting but the social media company’s vice-president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, is there.

“I’ve spoken to Mark Zuckerberg directly, twice now, and actually we’ve had good ongoing engagement with Facebook. Last time I spoke to him a matter of days ago he did give Facebook support to this call to action.”

Ms Ardern said governments cannot ignore the way people are being radicalised, and had a role to play in preventing it.

The Prime Minister is holding a series of one-on-one meetings today with British Prime Minister Theresa May, the King of Jordan, Norway’s Elna Solberg and Twitter boss Jack Dorsey.

She will have an hour-long lunch with the French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace ahead of the Christchurch Call summit. Tomorrow, she will attend the Tech for Good dinner where she’ll make a speech before a meeting with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

There have been some questions about whether Ardern will achieve anything in Paris. I think that’s premature.  She has already achieved some significant attention, including the involvement of some other world leaders.

We will see what suggestions or plans come out of the Paris initiative over the next day or two, but I expect it will take time for things to change.

We won’t know for some time how effective any changes might be.