New Zealand's Chief Censor David Shanks has officially classified the full 17 minute video of the fatal Christchurch shootings which occurred on Friday 15 March, as objectionable. He said:
The footage, examined under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993, is deemed objectionable because of its depiction and promotion of extreme violence and terrorism.
I took the step of 'calling in' this video over the weekend as a mechanism to fast-track the classification process.
The video contains exceedingly graphic real life images, which could cause significant harm to those who view it, especially for victims and their families.
An urgent process is currently underway to finalise a detailed report of the Chief Censor's decision, this will be released within days.
It is illegal for anyone in New Zealand to view, possess or distribute this material in any form, including via social media platforms.
We're aware that for a time after the attacks, this video was widely available on social media and many New Zealanders saw it, sometimes without meaning to. It's important people are now clear they should not view, download or share the video.
Our priority is to mitigate the harm caused by this material to the New Zealand public, and in particular to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the Christchurch terror attacks.
Associated with the video, it should be noted that a lengthy manifesto document is being examined separately from the video footage and will take more time to consider.
Update: The authorities get nasty about sharing the video
One 44 year old man with alleged far right connections has been arrested and charged with two counts of distributing objectionable materials in violation of New Zealand's Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act. He is being held
Another man, an 18-year-old, is also facing charges for sharing the video.
And these two may not be the only ones in New Zealand facing charges for sharing the video. Authorities have asked Facebook for the names of others who have shared it.
Other Kiwis have reportedly lost their jobs for sharing the video with coworkers or viewing it at work, according to the New Zealand Herald .
Offsite Comment: Don't Censor the New Zealand Shooting Videos
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns repeated attacks by the Chinese embassy against Swedish journalists and insists that diplomatic missions have no say in the editorial content of media in their host country.
Chinese ambassador to Sweden, Gui Congyou, has embarked on a truth crusade against the country's media since taking office in August 2017. The ambassador seems to have trouble understanding that in Sweden, a country ranked second in the RSF's
2018 World Press Freedom Index, journalists are not subject to censorship.
On the embassy's website, the ambassador recently posted a long, unsigned attack against SVT Nyheter, a major Swedish news outlet. The diplomat castigates the site for giving a platform to David Liao, Representative to the Taipei Mission in
Sweden, on February 27. Liao published an opinion piece calling support for Taiwanese democracy against Chinese threat. According to Gui Congyou, the article challenges the one China principle and amounts to serious political provocation. Beijing
is very aggressive in claiming sovereignty over the island of Taiwan, despite it having an independent government since 1949.
The attack on SVT Nyheter is indeed not an isolated incident. Since July of 2018, the Chinese Embassy in Stockholm has attacked multiple Swedish news sources. The ambassador was particularly harsh towards Swedish journalist Jojje Olsson, author
of a book on the Swedish publisher Gui Minhai, who was kidnapped in Thailand in 2015 and is still detained in China with no scheduled sentencing. Last December, he also attacked Swedish journalist and commentator Kurdo Baksi, accusing him of
instigating hatred against China.
Super Real Mahjong PV is a 2019 Japanese adventure game by MightyCraft
The console game Super Real Mahjong PV, originally released on the Sega Saturn and recently released for Switch, has been removed from Nintendo's eShop due to some scenes with insufficient censorship.
According to a notice from the publisher, Mighty Craft, Nintendo temporarily removed Super Real Mahjong PV from the eShop due to scenes with insufficient censorship as the reason. This is something that was pointed out by Japanese entertainment
rating organization CERO (Computer Entertainment Rating Organization).
The publisher says it is currently working on checking and revising the entire game, and are getting ready to have it reviewed by Nintendo.
It turns out there are some instances of the censorship rays being too thin and left some images of female breasts exposed.
Sky New Zealand has pulled fellow broadcaster Sky News Australia off air until the channel stops broadcasting clips from the Christchurch mosque shooter's Facebook live stream.
In a tweet posted on Saturday morning, Sky New Zealand, an independently-owned broadcaster, said it had decided to remove the Australian 24-hour news channel from its platform because of the footage. A channel spokeswoman said:
We stand in support of our fellow New Zealanders and have made the decision to remove Sky News Australia from our platform until we are confident that the distressing footage from yesterday's events will not be shared.
Thailand's military-controlled parliament has unanimously passed a new Cybersecurity Act to give the junta deeper control over the internet.
The act allows the National Cybersecurity Committee, run by Thailand's generals, to summon individuals for questioning and enter private property without court orders in case of actual or anticipated 'serious cyber threats'. Court warrants are
not required for action in emergency cases and criminal penalties will be imposed on those who do not comply with official orders.
The authorities can now search and seize data and hardware without a warrant if a threat is identified by the unaccountable body.
Chinese government censors are reading Australian publishers' books and, in some cases, refusing to allow them to be printed in China if they fail to comply with a long list of restrictions.
Publishing industry figures have confirmed that the censors from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China are vetting books sent by Australian publishers to Chinese printing
presses, even though they are written by Australian authors and intended for Australian readers.
Any mention of a list of political dissidents, protests or political figures in China, is entirely prohibited, according to a list circulated to publishers and obtained by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
The list of prohibitions mentions key political incidents, including the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, the pro-democracy protests in 2011 and the 2014 umbrella revolution in Hong Kong. The Tibetan independence movement, Uighur nationalism and
Falun Gong are also taboo subjects.
Mention of all major Chinese political figures, including Mao Zedong and the current president, Mr Xi, and all current members of the Politburo Standing Committee is ruled out, as is a long list of 118 dissidents who are not allowed to be
Most major religions are also on the sensitive list, as well as a long list of Chinese, or former Chinese locations, most relating to current or former border disputes. The printer's guidance says these things can be published after vetting by
Pornography was ruled out entirely, but artistic nudity or sexual acts could be censored in 10 working days.
Printing books, particularly those with colour illustrations, is significantly cheaper in China, so some publishers have little choice but to put them through the government censorship process.
Sandy Grant, of publisher Hardie Grant, said he had scrapped a proposed children's atlas last year because the censors ruled out a map showing the wrong borders.(probably to do with Chinese claims about Taiwan or Tibet). European alternatives
were considered economically unviable.
A printing industry source who works with Chinese presses confirmed that the rules, in theory, had been in place for a long time, but that, all of a sudden they've decided to up the ante. They're checking every book; they're very, very strict at
the moment. I don't know how they're reading every book, but they definitely are, the printer said. The change had happened in the past few months.
South Korea will expand its site blocking measures with SNI eavesdropping, so HTTPS sites can be blocked as well. The new measure, which will also affect pirate sites, has generated widespread opposition. While it's more effective than standard
DNS blocking, it's certainly not impossible to circumvent.
When it comes to pirate site blocking, South Korea is one of the most proactive countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Pirate website blocking orders are sanctioned by the Korean Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), which also oversees
other blocking efforts, including those targeted at porn or illegal gambling sites.
While the ISP blockades work well for regular HTTP sites, they are fairly easy to bypass on HTTPS connections, something most sites offer today. For this reason, the Korean authorities are now stepping up their blocking game. This week the
Government announced that it will start eavesdropping on
SNI fields , which identify the hostname of the target server. This allows ISPs to see which HTTPS sites users are trying to access, so these can be blocked if they're on the Korean blocklist.
The new measures will apply to 895 foreign websites that are linked to porn, gambling or copyright infringement.
The new blocking policy is meeting quite a bit of
resistance locally. A petition that was launched earlier this week has been signed by over 180,000 people already and this number is growing rapidly.
The petition warns that this type of censorship is limiting freedom of expression. At the same time, however, it notes that people will find ways to bypass the blockades.
SNI eavesdropping and blocking is useless when people use a VPN. In addition, more modern browsers and companies such as Cloudflare increasingly support encrypted SNI (ESNI). This prevents ISPs from snooping on SNI handshakes.