Modern Australian

Why news outlets should think twice about republishing the New Zealand mosque shooter's livestream

  • Written by Colleen Murrell, Associate Professor, Journalism, Swinburne University of Technology

Like so many times before with acts of mass violence in different parts of the world, news of shootings at two Christchurch mosques on Friday instantly ricocheted around the world via social media.

When these incidents occur, online activity follows a predictable pattern as journalists and others try to learn the name of the perpetrator and any reason behind the killings.

This time they did not have to wait long. In an appalling example of the latest technology, the gunman reportedly livestreamed his killings on Facebook. According to reports, the footage apparently showed a man moving through the interior of a mosque and shooting at his victims indiscriminately.

Amplifying the spread of this kind of material can be harmful.

Read more: Since Boston bombing, terrorists are using new social media to inspire potential attackers

Mainstream media outlets posted raw footage from gunman

The video was later taken down but not before many had called out the social media company. The ABC’s online technology reporter, Ariel Bogle, blamed the platforms for allowing the video to be shared.

ABC investigative reporter Sophie McNeil asked people on Twitter not to share the video, since the perpetrator clearly wanted it to be widely disseminated. New Zealand police similarly urged people not to share the link and said they were working to have the footage removed.

Following a spate of killings in France in 2016, French mainstream media proprietors decided to adopt a policy of not recycling pictures of atrocities.

The editor of Le Monde, Jérôme Fenoglio, said:

Following the attack in Nice, we will no longer publish photographs of the perpetrators of killings, to avoid possible effects of posthumous glorification.

Today, information about the name of the Christchurch gunman, his photograph and his Twitter account, were easy to find. Later, it was possible to see that his Twitter account had been suspended. On Facebook, it was easy to source pictures, and even a selfie, that the alleged perpetrator had shared on social media before entering the mosque.

But it was not just social media that shared the pictures. Six minutes of raw video was posted by news.com.au, which, after a warning at the front of the clip, showed video from the gunman’s helmet camera as he drove through the streets on his way to the mosque.

Read more: Mainstream media outlets are dropping the ball with terrorism coverage

The risks of sharing information about terrorism

Sharing this material can be highly problematic. In some past incidences of terrorism and hate crime, pictures of the wrong people have been published around the world on social and in mainstream media.

After the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, the wrong man was fingered as a culprit by a crowd-sourced detective hunt on various social media sites.

There is also the real fear that publishing such material could lead to copycat crimes. Along with the photographs and 17 minutes of film, the alleged perpetrator has penned a 73-page manifesto, in which he describes himself as “just a regular white man”.

Norwegian extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 69 people on the island of Utøya in 2011, took a similar approach to justifying his acts. Before his killing spree, Breivik wrote a 1,518 page manifesto called “2083: A European Declaration of Independence”.

Read more: Four ways social media companies and security agencies can tackle terrorism

The public’s right to know

Those who believe in media freedom and the public’s right to know are likely to complain if information and pictures are not available in full view on the internet. Conspiracies fester when people believe they are not being told the truth.

Instant global access to news can also pose problems to subsequent trials of perpetrators, as was shown in the recent case involving Cardinal George Pell.

While some large media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, are under increasing pressure to clean up their acts in terms of publishing hate crime material, it is nigh on impossible to stop the material popping up in multiple places elsewhere.

Members of the public, and some media organisations, will not stop speculating, playing detective or “rubber necking” at horror, despite what well-meaning social media citizens may desire. For the media, it’s all about clicks, and unfortunately horror drives clicks.

Authors: Colleen Murrell, Associate Professor, Journalism, Swinburne University of Technology

Read more http://theconversation.com/why-news-outlets-should-think-twice-about-republishing-the-new-zealand-mosque-shooters-livestream-113651

NEWS

could new opioid restrictions stop leftover medicines causing harm?

ShutterstockSeveral changes to the regulation of opioid supply in Australia come into effect today (June 1).Opioids are strong medicines used for pain. The new rules – including reducing pack sizes...

A time to embrace the edge spaces that make our neighbourhoods tick

ShutterstockAs we emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns, it is timely to reflect on how the design of our neighbourhoods and the ways we interact with them affect our lived experience.A clear...

6 easy ways to stop light pollution from harming our wildlife

ShutterstockAs winter approaches, marine turtle nesting in the far north of Australia will peak. When these baby turtles hatch at night, they crawl from the sand to the sea, using...

Australia's first service sector recession will be unlike those that have gone before it

ShutterstockAustralia is on the brink of its first recession in almost 30 years. The Australian Bureau of Statistics will deliver the official economic growth figure for the March quarter on...

3 ways plus a potted history

Alex Motoc/Unsplash, CC BYAs winter begins, porridge makes an excellent choice for breakfast. For many, porridge is redolent with memories of childhood. It is warm, filling, high in fibre and...

Lab experiments in the pandemic moved online or mailed home to uni students

hxdbzxy/ShutterstockThe COVID-19 pandemic has shaken university education, with most teaching moved off campus and students learning online at home.But a cornerstone of undergraduate science education has been a challenge: the...

Forget ‘murder hornets’, European wasps in Australia decapitate flies and bully dingoes

nutmeg66/flickr, CC BY-NCThe impacts of invasive mammals such as feral horses and feral cats have featured prominently in the media over the years.But the recent discovery of the infamous “murder...

As Minneapolis burns, Trump's presidency is sinking deeper into crisis. And yet, he may still be re-elected

Sipa USA Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS/SipViolence has erupted across several US cities after the death of a black man, George Floyd, who was shown on video gasping for breath as a...

Digital-only local newspapers will struggle to serve the communities that need them most

ShutterstockThis week News Corp Australia announced the end of the print editions of 112 suburban and regional mastheads – about one-fifth of all of Australia’s local newspapers. Of those, 36...

Scott Morrison strengthens his policy power, enshrining national cabinet and giving it "laser-like" focus on jobs

Scott Morrison has won support for a major restructure of federal-state architecture which scraps the Council of Australian Governments, enshrines the “national cabinet” permanently, and pares down a plethora of...

Trump’s Twitter tantrum may wreck the internet

US President Donald Trump, who tweeted more than 11,000 times in the first two years of his presidency, is very upset with Twitter.Earlier this week Trump tweeted complaints about mail-in...

Government to repay 470,000 unlawful robodebts in what might be Australia's biggest-ever financial backdown

In a near-complete capitulation, the government will refund every alleged overpayment it has collected from welfare recipients under the discredited “robodebt” system of income averaging.Unveiling the automated system in mid-2016...

Popular articles from Modern Australian

Key Roles and Responsibilities of Criminal LawyersTop benefits of buying a house and land packageWhat is the role of a Weighted Blanket? How Can You Become a LifesaverWhat You Should Know About Front End Smash RepairsAdvantages of Living in a Retirement VillageIf you buy virtual currency, use a safe and secure exchangeUrban Development: Trends Shaping The Future of CitiesThree cities worth visiting in PolandUpgrade your career in beauty therapy with these short beauty courses6 Ways To Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)Top Tips for the Best Camping TripHealthy Cooking at Home - Tips & TricksMental Health and Covid-19: How Effective are Health- Supplements?Know the Best Times to Eat Protein Bars