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German livestream video classified objectionable

10 October 2019

Chief Censor David Shanks has classified the 35 minute long livestream of fatal shootings overnight in Halle, Germany, as objectionable.

At least two people were killed in the attacks, one outside a synagogue and the other in a kebab shop, in separate shootings on Wednesday in Germany, overnight in New Zealand. The attacker livestreamed this attack on gaming site Twitch.

Like the March 15 livestream video the footage, examined under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993, the livestream has been deemed objectionable because of its depiction and promotion of extreme violence and terrorism. David Shanks used his “call-in” power this morning in order to fast-track the classification process.

“While this video is not filmed in New Zealand and fatalities are fewer than in Christchurch the fundamentals of this publication are the same as that of the March 15 livestream,” David Shanks said.

“It appears on the face of it to be a racially motivated terrorist attack depicting cold blooded murder of innocent people.

“It is clearly promotional and crosses the line in terms of New Zealand law as it depicts extreme violence and terrorist atrocities.

“As we have sadly seen since March 15 these publications serve to inspire others to commit similar crimes and encourage others to act, such as in Poway and El Paso. While this terrorist has killed fewer people the video will still be seen as instructional in terms of learning from it in order to carry out other attacks. We are already seeing this kind of conversation on social media.”

An urgent process is currently underway to finalise a detailed report of the Chief Censor’s decision, which will be released as soon as it is available.

“We have a legal framework in which to make these decisions – the decision was made based on the law not for reasons of taste or outrage. It is illegal to promote or encourage terrorist activity or criminal activity. It is also illegal to promote or support the infliction of extreme violence or cruelty. This livestream does these things.”

It is illegal for anyone in New Zealand to view, possess or distribute this material in any form, including via social media platforms.

If you see footage of this nature online, report it immediately.

To report harmful content for: Twitter click here, Facebook, click here, Instagram, click here, YouTube, click here. Any harmful content should also be reported to the Department of Internal Affairs, click here.


Please direct media enquiries to Communications Manager Maggie Tait: 027 346 9570

Further information

The events unfolding in Germany are distressing. If you, or someone you know, needs mental wellbeing support or advice then call or text 1737 anytime, for free. There is some great advice on coping after a traumatic event here. It includes key information for parents for children. Further advice for parents and caregivers on discussing challenging media can be found here

Guidance for media:

The Halle livestream video is now an illegal publication.

That does not mean media cannot use excepts or stills from it. However please be aware that any edited clips, screenshots or still images taken from the full video, that depict scenes of violence, injury or death, or that promote terrorism, may well also be objectionable.

Given the horrific circumstances of this attack, and the deliberate strategy of using a livestream to disseminate a terrorist message, we urge news media to carefully consider the impact of sharing, broadcasting or publishing any part of this video.

It is up to news organisations to make ethical judgements about what images they broadcast and print.