A publication reportedly written by the terrorist behind the fatal attacks in Christchurch, has been officially classified as objectionable. Chief Censor David Shanks said:
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.
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. Shanks said:
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
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.
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.
Offsite Comment: Why New Zealand shouldn't ban the shooter's manifesto
New Zealand's largest ISPs are continuing to block websites which hosted videos of the Christchurch terror attack, after a last-minute request by the Government.
In the wake of the mosque shootings, a number of New Zealand's biggest ISPs took what they themselves acknowledged was an unprecedented step - blocking websites which were hosting a live streamed video of the recent mosque attack.In an open
letter explaining the move and calling for action from larger tech companies, the chief executives of Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees said the decision was the right one in such extreme and tragic circumstances.
On Tuesday evening, both Spark and Vodafone told Newsroom they would start to remove the remaining website blocks overnight. A Spark spokeswoman said:
We believe we have now reached the point where we need to cease our extreme temporary measures to block these websites and revert to usual operating procedures.
However, less than two hours after its initial response, Spark said the websites would continue to be blocked for several more days following specific requests from Government.
New Zealand's Chief Censor David Shanks has officially classified the full 17 minute video of the fatal Christchurch shootings which occurred on Friday 15 March, as objectionable. He said:
The footage, examined under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993, is deemed objectionable because of its depiction and promotion of extreme violence and terrorism.
I took the step of 'calling in' this video over the weekend as a mechanism to fast-track the classification process.
The video contains exceedingly graphic real life images, which could cause significant harm to those who view it, especially for victims and their families.
An urgent process is currently underway to finalise a detailed report of the Chief Censor's decision, this will be released within days.
It is illegal for anyone in New Zealand to view, possess or distribute this material in any form, including via social media platforms.
We're aware that for a time after the attacks, this video was widely available on social media and many New Zealanders saw it, sometimes without meaning to. It's important people are now clear they should not view, download or share the video.
Our priority is to mitigate the harm caused by this material to the New Zealand public, and in particular to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the Christchurch terror attacks.
Associated with the video, it should be noted that a lengthy manifesto document is being examined separately from the video footage and will take more time to consider.
Update: The authorities get nasty about sharing the video
One 44 year old man with alleged far right connections has been arrested and charged with two counts of distributing objectionable materials in violation of New Zealand's Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act. He is being held
Another man, an 18-year-old, is also facing charges for sharing the video.
And these two may not be the only ones in New Zealand facing charges for sharing the video. Authorities have asked Facebook for the names of others who have shared it.
Other Kiwis have reportedly lost their jobs for sharing the video with coworkers or viewing it at work, according to the New Zealand Herald .
Offsite Comment: Don't Censor the New Zealand Shooting Videos
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns repeated attacks by the Chinese embassy against Swedish journalists and insists that diplomatic missions have no say in the editorial content of media in their host country.
Chinese ambassador to Sweden, Gui Congyou, has embarked on a truth crusade against the country's media since taking office in August 2017. The ambassador seems to have trouble understanding that in Sweden, a country ranked second in the RSF's
2018 World Press Freedom Index, journalists are not subject to censorship.
On the embassy's website, the ambassador recently posted a long, unsigned attack against SVT Nyheter, a major Swedish news outlet. The diplomat castigates the site for giving a platform to David Liao, Representative to the Taipei Mission in
Sweden, on February 27. Liao published an opinion piece calling support for Taiwanese democracy against Chinese threat. According to Gui Congyou, the article challenges the one China principle and amounts to serious political provocation. Beijing
is very aggressive in claiming sovereignty over the island of Taiwan, despite it having an independent government since 1949.
The attack on SVT Nyheter is indeed not an isolated incident. Since July of 2018, the Chinese Embassy in Stockholm has attacked multiple Swedish news sources. The ambassador was particularly harsh towards Swedish journalist Jojje Olsson, author
of a book on the Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, who was kidnapped in Thailand in 2015 and is still detained in China with no scheduled sentencing. Last December, he also attacked Swedish journalist and commentator Kurdo Baksi, accusing him of
instigating hatred against China.
Super Real Mahjong PV is a 2019 Japanese adventure game by MightyCraft
The console game Super Real Mahjong PV, originally released on the Sega Saturn and recently released for Switch, has been removed from Nintendo's eShop due to some scenes with insufficient censorship.
According to a notice from the publisher, Mighty Craft, Nintendo temporarily removed Super Real Mahjong PV from the eShop due to scenes with insufficient censorship as the reason. This is something that was pointed out by Japanese entertainment
rating organization CERO (Computer Entertainment Rating Organization).
The publisher says it is currently working on checking and revising the entire game, and are getting ready to have it reviewed by Nintendo.
It turns out there are some instances of the censorship rays being too thin and left some images of female breasts exposed.
Sky New Zealand has pulled fellow broadcaster Sky News Australia off air until the channel stops broadcasting clips from the Christchurch mosque shooter's Facebook live stream.
In a tweet posted on Saturday morning, Sky New Zealand, an independently-owned broadcaster, said it had decided to remove the Australian 24-hour news channel from its platform because of the footage. A channel spokeswoman said:
We stand in support of our fellow New Zealanders and have made the decision to remove Sky News Australia from our platform until we are confident that the distressing footage from yesterday's events will not be shared.
New Zealand's archaic law prohibiting the publication of material which may vilify or insult Christianity has been repealed in Parliament.
Previously it was an offence in New Zealand to publish anything which may be considered blasphemous libel, meaning to condemn Christ or Christianity. The offence of blasphemous libel had not been prosecuted in New Zealand since 1922
Justice Minister Andrew Little commented:
This obsolete provision has no place in a modern society which protects freedom of expression.
Laws should be relevant to modern society and the last time a blasphemous libel case was considered, in 1998, the Solicitor-General rejected it. The view was expressed that it would be inconsistent with the freedom of expression as protected by
the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.
No doubt New Zealand still has a modern day equivalent that can be used to prosecute insults or criticism of religion.
Singapore has banned Swedish death metal group Watain from performing a concert taking issue at the band's history of denigrating religions and promoting violence.
Watain is noted for its nightmarish live shows, which have included performing Satanic ceremonies on stage and dousing their fans with blood.
Censors from the Media Development Authority (IMDA) said it cancelled the concert following an assessment submitted to it by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The ministry spoke of serious concerns about the concert, given the band's history of
denigrating religions and promoting violence.
Thailand's military-controlled parliament has unanimously passed a new Cybersecurity Act to give the junta deeper control over the internet.
The act allows the National Cybersecurity Committee, run by Thailand's generals, to summon individuals for questioning and enter private property without court orders in case of actual or anticipated 'serious cyber threats'. Court warrants are
not required for action in emergency cases and criminal penalties will be imposed on those who do not comply with official orders.
The authorities can now search and seize data and hardware without a warrant if a threat is identified by the unaccountable body.
Chinese government censors are reading Australian publishers' books and, in some cases, refusing to allow them to be printed in China if they fail to comply with a long list of restrictions.
Publishing industry figures have confirmed that the censors from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China are vetting books sent by Australian publishers to Chinese printing
presses, even though they are written by Australian authors and intended for Australian readers.
Any mention of a list of political dissidents, protests or political figures in China, is entirely prohibited, according to a list circulated to publishers and obtained by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
The list of prohibitions mentions key political incidents, including the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, the pro-democracy protests in 2011 and the 2014 umbrella revolution in Hong Kong. The Tibetan independence movement, Uighur nationalism and
Falun Gong are also taboo subjects.
Mention of all major Chinese political figures, including Mao Zedong and the current president, Mr Xi, and all current members of the Politburo Standing Committee is ruled out, as is a long list of 118 dissidents who are not allowed to be
Most major religions are also on the sensitive list, as well as a long list of Chinese, or former Chinese locations, most relating to current or former border disputes. The printer's guidance says these things can be published after vetting by
Pornography was ruled out entirely, but artistic nudity or sexual acts could be censored in 10 working days.
Printing books, particularly those with colour illustrations, is significantly cheaper in China, so some publishers have little choice but to put them through the government censorship process.
Sandy Grant, of publisher Hardie Grant, said he had scrapped a proposed children's atlas last year because the censors ruled out a map showing the wrong borders.(probably to do with Chinese claims about Taiwan or Tibet). European alternatives
were considered economically unviable.
A printing industry source who works with Chinese presses confirmed that the rules, in theory, had been in place for a long time, but that, all of a sudden they've decided to up the ante. They're checking every book; they're very, very strict at
the moment. I don't know how they're reading every book, but they definitely are, the printer said. The change had happened in the past few months.
South Korea will expand its site blocking measures with SNI eavesdropping, so HTTPS sites can be blocked as well. The new measure, which will also affect pirate sites, has generated widespread opposition. While it's more effective than standard
DNS blocking, it's certainly not impossible to circumvent.
When it comes to pirate site blocking, South Korea is one of the most proactive countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Pirate website blocking orders are sanctioned by the Korean Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), which also oversees
other blocking efforts, including those targeted at porn or illegal gambling sites.
While the ISP blockades work well for regular HTTP sites, they are fairly easy to bypass on HTTPS connections, something most sites offer today. For this reason, the Korean authorities are now stepping up their blocking game. This week the
Government announced that it will start eavesdropping on
SNI fields , which identify the hostname of the target server. This allows ISPs to see which HTTPS sites users are trying to access, so these can be blocked if they're on the Korean blocklist.
The new measures will apply to 895 foreign websites that are linked to porn, gambling or copyright infringement.
The new blocking policy is meeting quite a bit of
resistance locally. A petition that was launched earlier this week has been signed by over 180,000 people already and this number is growing rapidly.
The petition warns that this type of censorship is limiting freedom of expression. At the same time, however, it notes that people will find ways to bypass the blockades.
SNI eavesdropping and blocking is useless when people use a VPN. In addition, more modern browsers and companies such as Cloudflare increasingly support encrypted SNI (ESNI). This prevents ISPs from snooping on SNI handshakes.
Indonesian entertainers have rallied against a draft law that seeks to ban blasphemous and pornographic music content, with critics saying it will be used to clamp down on an already very limited freedom of expression.
More than 100 protestors - many carrying placards or playing guitars and drums - took to the streets of Bogor, near Jakarta, on Sunday to demonstrate against the proposed law.
Under the proposed law, musicians would be prevented from bringing negative influences from foreign cultures and/or degrading human dignity into Indonesia. As well as cracking down on blasphemous and pornographic content, it imposes onerous
new requirements on musicians, such as carrying out competency tests to gain certification.
As well as cracking down on blasphemous and pornographic content, it imposes onerous new requirements on musicians, such as carrying out competency tests to gain certification.
An online petition calling for the vaguely worded bill to be scrapped has been signed by more than 250,000 people.
Thai people have little interest in European history and most seem to know nothing about the Second World War even if the country did get involved on the margins. However the west seems to somehow expect that Thais should be aware of the horrors
and sensitivities from that time... but they are simply not.
Now foreign diplomats have got all wound up by a female pop star unknowingly wearing a t-shirt decorated with a Nazi flag.
The band has issued an apology to match the tearful one delivered earlier by 20-year-old singer Pichayapa Namsai Natha. It was a bad fashion choice based on ignorance, she said.
But envoys from Israel and German have expressed dismay after a member of the popular all-girl singing group BNK48 sported a T-shirt bearing a swastika.
Smadar Shapira, deputy chief of mission of Israel in Thailand, said on Twitter that the Israeli Embassy was shocked and dismayed over the singer's outfit, noting that the Holocaust remembrance was imminent:
Presenting Nazi symbols by the band's singer hurt the feelings of millions around the world whose relatives were murdered by the Nazis.
German Ambassador Georg Schmidt, whose country has gone to great lengths to amend for the crimes of its wartime regime, also tweeted.
We share the shock and dismay expressed by @ShapiraSmadar from the Embassy of Israel. We invite members of #BNK48 to discuss the terror to the Nazi dictatorship with us.
The manager of BNK48 and singer Namsai later attened a meeting with the ambassador of Israel, Meir Shlomo, at the latter's residence to express their apologies in person. the ambassador said following the meeting:
I understand that it was an act arising from lack of knowledge and awareness, and I'm pleased that they have apologised and agreed to hold together educational activity in the future. The BNK48 has proposed that its members join an educational
workshop on the Holocaust, in order to emphasise their commitment to this important subject.
TV programmes streamed on China's Netflix-like iQiyi site appear to be blurring the earlobes of male actors with earrings, according to web users in the country.
Doctored images of male actors on a show called Sisters Flower Shop alongside earlier footage where they were sporting earrings have been posted online. In another show, I, Actor , the earlobes of the lead actor and singer also
appear to have been edited.
Over the past year people have criticised popular Asian culture for encouraging effeminate standards of beauty for men. A 2018 article published by the state news agency Xinhua said China's pop idols were spawning a generation of sissy boys.
Web users criticised the blurred-out earrings, and thousands have commented on social media under the MaleTVStarsCantWearEarrings hashtag. One user said:
The whole world is moving forward, while China is moving backward.
A repressive new internet censorship took effect at the beginning of 2019. I demands that data about Vietnam users is held locally in the country so that the Government is able to lodge censorship requests to remove content that it does not like
and to hand over local account details of users that it wants to pursue.
Facebook has refused to go along with some of these provisions and has already been threatened by the government. claiming that Facebook violated the new law by not removing what it says is anti-government content.
According to a report published by state-controlled media Vietnam News, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) accused Facebook of allowing personal accounts to post slanderous content, anti-government sentiment and libel and
defamation of individuals, organisations and State agencies. The report noted:
Facebook had not reportedly responded to a request to remove fanpages provoking activities against the State at the request of authorities.
The MIC reported that the government had sent emails repeatedly asking Facebook to remove distorted and misleading content, but the platform delayed removal of the content, saying it didn't violate its community standards. The MIC also said that
Facebook refused to hand over account data it sought for the associated accounts.
Vietnam News said that authorities are still gathering evidence of Facebook's infringements.
A Chinese VPN user has been fined for accessing overseas websites censored by the government.
Chinese authorities have issued a disciplinary warning to a Guangdong man and ordered him pay a fine of 1,000 yuan (US$164) for setting up (presumably meaning using) an unauthorised Virtual Private Network (VPN) service to connect to
The man, surnamed Zhu and from Shaoguan city in Guangdong province, was punished on December 28 because his behaviour violated censorship rules.
Individuals and organisations can only connect to international networks through channels provided by the government, according to regulations listed on the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's website.
Academic publisher Taylor & Francis , whose publications include the Asian Studies Review, has confirmed that its Chinese importer, a government offshoot, decided in September to block 83 of the 1,466 academic journals to which Taylor &
Francis provides access in China.
The British publishing house did not name the censored journals, but they probably address subjects that are routine censored by the Chinese authorities, such as the contemporary history of China, Taiwan and Tibet, human rights and civil rights.
Cedric Alviani, the head of RSF's East Asia bureau said:
This latest act of censorship shows how President Xi Jinping is implementing a policy of total information control to secure his hold on power. After gagging journalists, bloggers and Internet uses, the regime is now targeting academic journals
whose findings contradict its simplistic rhetoric.