Australia’s Communication and Media Authority has launched an investigation into the broadcasters who showed video footage filmed by the Christchurch terrorist, Brenton Tarrant, during last Friday’s attacks.
Tarrant live-streamed the terrorist act on Facebook, with several broadcasters, including Nine and Sky News, being criticised for using some of the horrific footage.
An ACMA spokesperson said: “The ACMA has commenced a formal investigation into whether content broadcast by commercial, national and subscription broadcasters of Friday’s terrorist attack in Christchurch breached current rules”.
The investigation will focus on content that was filmed by the perpetrator and any of the live-streamed footage of the shootings that was broadcast on Australian TV.
The spokesperson added: “The ACMA is also concerned about content made available or linked to on broadcasters’ websites.
“While this is currently beyond its regulatory remit, the ACMA is in close contact with the Australian Press Council as it reviews its members’ coverage of the attack.
“The ACMA will also request urgent meetings with the peak industry organisations — Free TV Australia and the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association — to discuss whether current rules are providing adequate protections for Australian audiences”.
Facebook is also in hot water over the footage but claims it has removed over 1.5 million videos of the killings.
NZ prime minister Jacinda Ardern said Facebook had “questions to answer” over the distressing content that was allowed to be uploaded to and shared on the platform.
Mia Garlick, a spokeswoman for Facebook New Zealand, responded: “We continue to work around the clock to remove violating content using a combination of technology and people.
“In the first 24 hours we removed 1.5 million videos of the attack globally, of which over 1.2 million were blocked at upload.
“Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities, we’re also removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content”.
Footage was also uploaded to YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, which all tried to remove the content as soon as it was uploaded and shared.
In a statement, a Google spokesperson said: “Our hearts go out to the victims of this terrible tragedy.
“Shocking, violent and graphic content has no place on our platforms and is removed as soon as we become aware of it. As with any major tragedy, we will work cooperatively with the authorities.
In a statement, Twitter said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the shootings in Christchurch. Twitter has rigorous processes and a dedicated team in place for managing emergency situations such as this. We will also cooperate with law enforcement to facilitate their investigations as required”.