NZ PM urges global action on social media perils

Grieving New Zealand looks for lessons from Christchurch attack
Jacinda Ardern Promises She Will Never Say The Christchurch Shooter's Name

21 March, 2019

New Zealand's prime minister vowed Tuesday to give not a single shred - not one second or one syllable - of recognition to the man who attacked two local mosques last week, killing 50 people.

"One thing I can assure you - you won't hear me speak his name", she said. In one of her first interviews since the attack, Ardern rejected any argument that her country's policy of welcoming refugees and immigrants was to blame for the violence.

"While it will be in Christchurch, we are looking at how we can involve the rest of New Zealand", she told reporters in Christchurch on Wednesday. He is a criminal.

Australia's prime minister has urged world leaders to crack down on social media companies that broadcast terrorist attacks in the aftermath of the New Zealand mosque shootings.

Facebook said the live stream from Christchurch was viewed fewer than 200 times but it had to remove a staggering 1.5 million videos as footage of the slaughter went viral. It said it was working with police on the investigation.

"This incident highlights the importance of industry cooperation regarding the range of terrorists and violent extremists operating online", the grouping, which includes Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc's Google and Twitter Inc, said of the attack.

Ardern also stated that although social media was not the cause of the massacre, it played a role in enabling hate to spread. "And peace be upon all of us", Ardern said. "We normally wear black", she said.

"He will face the full force of the law in New Zealand".

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A wheelchair-using worshipper who survived the slaughter at the Al Noor Mosque, but whose wife was killed, has offered an olive branch to the gunman, saying that he would like to meet him and tell him, "I still love you". A 4-year-old girl was transferred to a hospital in Auckland and is in critical condition.

Her comments came as police said that the bodies of five victims have been released to their families because only 12 of the 50 dead have been identified.

No official list of victims has been released, and police said they are "acutely aware of frustrations" at the length of time taken to formally identify the bodies. Yet, Ardern delivered, and she didn't miss a beat.

"They are the publisher, not just the postman. It can not be a case of all profit, no responsibility".

New Zealand's worldwide spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, confirmed in a statement that it had not received any relevant information or intelligence ahead of the shootings.

Ardern on Monday acknowledged that the reforms might make some gun owners nervous, particularly those in the country's rural areas, but sought to assure them that the coming changes were not directed at legitimate gun owners.

The inquiry will investigate what agencies knew - or should have known - about the gunman's access to weapons or any impediments into the sharing of information, she said.

She closed her address by noting that "on Friday, it will be a week since the attack, members of the Muslim community will gather for worship on that day".

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