Buffalo mass shooting livestream and ‘manifesto’ permanently banned
Interim decisions banning both the livestream of the racially-motivated Buffalo mass shooting and the shooter’s ‘manifesto’ are now final, said Acting Chief Censor Rupert Ablett-Hampson today.
On May 15 NZT a white supremacist killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, in the United States. He livestreamed his attack and produced a written manifesto. Shortly after the massacre Te Mana Whakaatu – Classification Office banned both publications under interim decisions, these are now final.
The final classification decisions declaring the publications objectionable were made after assessing both publications under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993.
“The livestream video and accompanying ‘manifesto’ promote the infliction of extreme violence and cruelty on innocent people going about their daily lives,” said Rupert Ablett-Hampson.
“The extent and degree to which the publications promote mass murder and white supremacist terrorism make their availability likely to be injurious to the public good.
“The shooter’s intent was to provide encouragement and instruction to others, and contribute to the ongoing proliferation of these types of copycat attacks.
“The striking similarity between these publications and those from the March 15 mosque attacks is no coincidence. In his ‘manifesto’, the Buffalo gunman specifically cites the Christchurch attack as a direct influence on his views and his actions.
“It has become a trend for terrorists, in particular white supremacist killers, to issue these kinds of publications to encourage others to follow their lead.
“The gunman’s reference to the Christchurch terrorist serves as evidence of the tangible, radicalising impact of these types of publications on vulnerable people.
“This decision means it is an offence to possess or distribute these publications. We urge New Zealanders not to seek these publications out.”
Anyone aware of the publications being shared online may report their concerns to the Department of Internal Affairs here.
“My thoughts and sympathy continue to be with the victims, their families and those affected by this dreadful event,” Rupert Ablett-Hampson said.
While the publication is banned, academic researchers, analysts and journalists seeking to inform the public will still have access to the publication in New Zealand through the section 44 exemption process.
The ban of the complete video does not automatically mean that any image or short extract from it is also banned. However any edited clips, screenshots or still images taken from the full video depicting scenes of violence, injury or death, or that promote terrorism, may also be illegal.
On 14 May 2022, an 18 year old man armed with firearms attacked a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people and injuring 3 others. The attacker livestreamed his attack on a popular streaming platform, and also published a ‘manifesto’ online to coincide with the attack.
On 15 May 2022 the Acting Chief Censor initiated a classification of the ‘manifesto’. On the same day the Classification Office assessed this publication and determined that it was likely to be objectionable.
On 16 May 2022 the Acting Chief Censor initiated a classification of the livestream. The Classification Office assessed it and determined that it was likely to be objectionable.
On 17 May 2022 Te Mana Whakaatu – Classification Office issued two notices of interim classification assessment under section 22A of the Films Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 Act. The interim classifications had the effect of classifying both publications objectionable.
On 13 June 2022, Te Mana Whakaatu – Classification Office issued two notices of decision under section 38(1) of the Films Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 Act. These decisions replaced the interim classifications of the livestream and ‘manifesto’. Both publications have been confirmed as objectionable.
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