New Zealand Police Censor Mosque Attack, Threaten to Jail Citizens Who Share Video

Turkey's president shows video at weekend rallies

Continuing on from heavy social media censorship surrounding information on the Christchurch mosque attacks, the New Zealand government has blocked multiple websites for having footage of the attack on them, and has jailed at least one person, without bail, for sharing the video.

The one person jailed so far was a man who shared the original live-stream of the attack. New Zealand police, however, say that all citizens who share any video of the attack face 10 years in prison. They also warned against sharing the attacker’s manifesto, or other “objectionable and restricted material.”

New Zealand’s Internet providers have confirmed that they effectively have to, under penalty of fines, block all international websites that have links to the manifesto or the video itself. ISPs argue that these are “extreme circumstances,” and that blocking such websites is “the right thing to do.”

Despite all efforts, the video appears not to have been vanished totally from human history, however. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used parts of the video at weekend rallies warning about rising Islamophobia, and quoted the manifesto, which threatened Turkey specifically.

Facebook bragged of removing 1.5 million videos related to Christchurch just within the first 24 hours after the attack. This included 1.2 million videos that were blocked at upload, and were never available to anybody.

It is unclear if New Zealand intends to make this a permanent ban. It is hard to imagine other major public incidents of this source, for which video did and does exist, being successfully scrubbed from the Internet in any permanent way.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.