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15th Mar 2019

Australian media broadcast footage from Christchurch shootings despite police warnings

Despite the police urging media not to broadcast footage of the attacks that claimed 40 lives, some outlets in Australia have shown video of the attack

Alan Loughnane

Police have urged people not to share it

The attacks in Christchurch, in which 40 people were killed, were reportedly live streamed on several social media sites by the shooter and have since been used in broadcasts and shared on social media.

“Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online,” New Zealand police said in a statement.

“We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed.”

Facebook and New Zealand police deleted the shooter’s accounts on Friday after a live-stream of the shooting was originally broadcast on Facebook.

An Australian news channel repeatedly broadcast footage of the shooter at the mosque and footage was embedded on another news website and on its social media posts.

While the website has since deleted the posts, the channel was still playing segments of the video hours later.

Other websites and channels used stills from the video and some channels played the opening of the video but stopped before the gunman opened fire on the mosques.

New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, also urged people not to share the footage during a press conference.

“We should not be perpetuating, sharing, giving any oxygen to this act of violence and the message that is sitting behind it,” Ardern said.

“What all of us can at least do is ensure that we do not share, spread or actively engage in that message of hate. We have been given assurance that … at least those platforms where some of those images have been shared, are actively being removed. But I just ask people, don’t share them.”

In her condemnation of the attacks, Ardern expressed solidarity with the muslim community, saying:

“I want to send a message to those directly affected… For many this may have not been the place they were born. For many New Zealand was their choice, a place they actively came to and committed themselves to…it was a place where many came to for their safety. A place where it was safe to practice their culture and religion.

“We represent diversity and compassion, a home for those who share our values, a refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and can not be shaken by this attack. We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities and 160 languages.”