16 votes

Christchurch mosque shootings: 'Manifesto' deemed objectionable

19 comments

  1. nacho
    Link
    I strongly urge anyone interested in these types of questions to watch forbidden films, a German documentary about the ~40 nazi propaganda movies from the 1930s and 1940s that were still banned...

    I strongly urge anyone interested in these types of questions to watch forbidden films, a German documentary about the ~40 nazi propaganda movies from the 1930s and 1940s that were still banned from viewing outside of rigid contexts in 2014.

    Hitler's Hollywood regarding the same topic is also definitely worth a view.


    A lot of people have gut reactions for or against banning different types of speech. Those gut reactions rarely take real life concerns that outline the complexities of how best to treat these types of things into account.

    A lot of people seriously overestimate the power of the Streisand effect, where getting rid of something supposedly gives it more exposure. All the successful times things are removed and don't get attention aren't there and you can't notice them. That reinforces the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, where you notice things (like the Streisand effect) because you're pre-sensitized to those effects.


    I think a lot of this is about context. There are very legitimate reasons for not giving debunked junk attention. Think of how flat-earthism and the anti-vaxx movement have essentially been given online and media platforms and how much harm that's caused.

    Is banning the best solution in this specific case? I don't know. Is it the best option in several cases depending on their circumstances? Certainly.

    23 votes
  2. [12]
    Grzmot
    Link
    This simply means that posession of the manifesto carries possible time in prison (up to 10 years) with it while distributing it up to 14. People who legitimately need to study the text (for...

    This simply means that posession of the manifesto carries possible time in prison (up to 10 years) with it while distributing it up to 14. People who legitimately need to study the text (for example journalists, etc.) can apply for an exception.

    I'm conflicted about this. Obviously on reddit it hasn't received fairly well (Americans love their 1st amendment), but I think declaring it illegal will only make more people aware of it's existence and give them the desire to read it (forbidden fruit, anyone?) after the NZ government has done such a good job of minimizing coverage of the shooter and the manifesto since the attack has happened.

    6 votes
    1. [12]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [2]
        alyaza
        Link Parent
        the slippery slope is a fallacy for a reason. it is a massive logical leap to say that because the shooter's manifesto is banned this suddenly means new zealand is going to start going out of its...

        While he did a horrible thing, if we start deciding what can we and can't we read, because it might be disturbing, we could start banning all sorts of texts that might teach lessons, that while horrible, we could still learn from.

        the slippery slope is a fallacy for a reason. it is a massive logical leap to say that because the shooter's manifesto is banned this suddenly means new zealand is going to start going out of its way to decide what its citizens can and cannot read. american school boards for example are notorious for banning books for prudish, culturally ridiculous reasons (like representing gay people or talking about sexuality)--and yet, nothing of this sort that you describe has ever happened. similarly, plenty of more centralized bodies like other western governments have banned other books, with no broader consequences--probably because this is, again, a massive logical leap. nobody is about to take away your copy of 1984 or animal farm or the communist manifesto or mein kampf or whatever because some 4chan asshole's shitty manifesto that just jacks a bunch of conservative talking points isn't allowed to be distributed.

        Also there's no point in trying to censor something like that, since once it's on the internet, there's no taking it back. Banning it is only going to bring more attention to it, as you said.

        you know, i'm pretty sure we don't apply this standard to things like jihadist websites, child porn, or any other plethora of illegal and repulsive topics, so i'm not seeing why we would apply it here?

        14 votes
        1. [2]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. alyaza
            Link Parent
            if you're going to make this claim, you either need to cite something which proves it or accept that it's literally your subjective interpretation of how much people care, because i greatly doubt...

            Because most people aren't interested in looking for jihadist websites, child porn, or any other plethora of illegal and repulsive topics,

            if you're going to make this claim, you either need to cite something which proves it or accept that it's literally your subjective interpretation of how much people care, because i greatly doubt that most people give a fuck about what is--again--some 4chan loser's shitty manifesto.

            If they had banned it directly after the shooting, or when they banned automatic guns, it would have flown under the radar. But doing it now, just pulls attention back to the shooter, while what we should be doing is moving on and forgetting this POS.

            also gonna need a citation for that, but i assume this one is also a subjective interpretation of how much people are suddenly going to be inspired to look up this dude's name or whatever.

            Furthermore, in the link you provided, there isn't a lot of censorship that deals with "centralised western governments", but more with dictatorships, both old and new, such as China or the Franco Dictatorship in Spain.

            aside from the fact that the amount of censorship you bring up has basically no bearing on my point, something like a quarter to half of the list is western governments. australia for example appears on there at least 20 times, and several of the books banned by western governments were literally banned to suppress information from coming out that those governments didn't like. western censorship of books is fairly well established, and in spite of all that pretty much nothing has happened in the long term, so this would suggest that your original point of this being some harbinger for even more censorship is false.

            And the "slippery slope" you say, is happening. Pages like Liveleak, ZeroHedge and others (Source 1 & Source 2) are being censored, people being completely unable to enter their pages in New Zealand.

            aside from the fact your sourcing here is literally russia today (which is effectively russian state propaganda), temporarily blocking websites for hosting the video until they stop hosting the video is not the slippery slope in action. it literally isn't new zealand doing anything, it's the ISPs of new zealand (which they have a right to do)--and in any case, unless you're about to complain about australian ISPs doing the same thing (which won't lead to anything either), your point is basically hollow.

            once again, nobody in the government of new zealand is coming for your copy of mein kampf or the communist manifesto or whatever else. let's please stop acting like big brother is out in full force because you can't see 50 people die at this dude's hands or read his garbage ass manifesto.

      2. [2]
        emdash
        Link Parent
        This is such an American way of thinking though; and yes, it is censorship, but according to New Zealand law, objectionable content may, and in fact, has been—literally censored—for a long time,...

        This is such an American way of thinking though; and yes, it is censorship, but according to New Zealand law, objectionable content may, and in fact, has been—literally censored—for a long time, as per the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993/Amendment Act 2015. One definition of "objectionable material" is as follows:

        • acts of torture, the infliction of serious physical harm or acts of significant cruelty

        This isn't some authoritarian crackdown by our government, it's literally in keeping with laws we've had on the books for decades. This is nothing new, and it's not a slippery slope. A slippery slope would be an amendment to the existing laws which significantly constrained the freedom of New Zealanders—which is not happening.

        Furthermore, this is not even close to the biggest problems our country has. So while Americans are free to debate our laws with their context attached, just be aware the majority of New Zealanders actually don't care about this. I don't for example.

        14 votes
        1. [2]
          Comment deleted by author
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          1. emdash
            Link Parent
            People forget about it anyway. The Streisand effect is overblown, and the decision to classify this material as objectionable has had a meaningful impact on the spread of this content within New...

            I just disagree with how it's been handled. I think giving possible 10 year jail sentences and $137k fines is a horrible way to go at things, and just brings the issue to the forefront. I believe that leaving it alone would have been a better solution, that most people were already forgetting about it.

            People forget about it anyway. The Streisand effect is overblown, and the decision to classify this material as objectionable has had a meaningful impact on the spread of this content within New Zealand.

            Lastly, the fact that there are worse problems should not mean that you ignore smaller problems because "oh, they're unimportant compared to others".

            No, but it really shows what our country believes its core values are when most of us are indifferent to U.S.-style free speech.

            I also disagree with your apparent stance that people in other countries can't discuss laws in other countries, because it apparently doesn't involve them?

            Sure you can discuss them. Nothing stopping you. But without having lived in New Zealand for most of your life, and being able to identify with the values we align with, any discussion you're going to have is going to be pretty uninformed.

            4 votes
      3. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        The Chief Censor didn't say this document was merely disturbing: "There is an important distinction to be made between 'hate speech', which may be rejected by many right-thinking people but which...

        if we start deciding what can we and can't we read, because it might be disturbing

        The Chief Censor didn't say this document was merely disturbing:

        "There is an important distinction to be made between 'hate speech', which may be rejected by many right-thinking people but which is legal to express, and this type of publication, which is deliberately constructed to inspire further murder and terrorism,"

        "It is aimed at a small group who may be receptive to its hateful, racist and violent ideology, and who may be inspired to follow the example set by its apparent author,"

        The document has been deemed objectionable because it incites violence.

        As for learning lessons from it, it might be worthwhile studying this in an academic context, but I fail to see why casual readers need access to a document which calls for people to be killed.

        5 votes
      4. [4]
        mat
        Link Parent
        I'm curious as to whether you have any other suggestions on how to "minimise the spread of the manifesto and the shooters message as much as possible". I'm not trying to be facetious, genuine...

        this is not the way to do this

        I'm curious as to whether you have any other suggestions on how to "minimise the spread of the manifesto and the shooters message as much as possible". I'm not trying to be facetious, genuine question. Because I can't think of anything off the top of my head.

        2 votes
        1. [4]
          Comment deleted by author
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          1. [2]
            mat
            Link Parent
            Ah, so you're saying we should do nothing and hope it goes away. To be honest, that hasn't been working very well with the far-right so far. Given how dangerous some of these people are, I'm a...

            Ah, so you're saying we should do nothing and hope it goes away. To be honest, that hasn't been working very well with the far-right so far. Given how dangerous some of these people are, I'm a little more in favour of taking actual action, personally.

            The fact that we are talking about the ban here, right now shows that all it has done is bring the shooter's message back to the forefront.

            That's demonstrably not the case though. Nobody here is talking about the content of the shooter's message. I have only a vague sense of what that message was, and no interest in finding out the details.

            I also feel that censoring discussion of the manifesto is a bad move

            But that's not happening either. Here we are, discussing it. We don't need to discuss the content of it, because his views don't deserve that and anyone who thinks there should be 'debate' about the content is either a troll or shares similar ideological views as the shooter in which case we can safely ignore both of those people. There is no debate required about whether white supremacists mass murderers are bad. LiveLeak et al got (allegedly) restricted in NZ because they were hosting illegal content, or suspected of such. That shouldn't be a surprise or a concern. They're trash anyway, nobody is really going to lose out by not being able to access them. NZ just got a little bit better as a result of them being blocked. Also, just fyi, linking to a far right propaganda/conspiracy website as your 'source' for things is a bit dubious. Your politics and personal choice of "news" source are your own business but it's more convincing if you use better quality sources to support what you're saying.

            You say you're not American but you really sound American. This focus on free speech at any cost is a very American attitude. In a lot of societies people are fine with silencing those who say abhorrent things. A few Kiwis here and elsewhere have said the prevailing mood there is one of "good, shut the fucker up" or "don't care" rather than "oh no government overreach!!" (which is another very American concern - the way the US populace seems to mentally separate government and society is very odd to me). Just as matter of interest, where are you from?

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              Comment deleted by author
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              1. mat
                Link Parent
                I can't do much relpying right now because my baby is sleeping on my typing hand, but stateoftheunion2012.com is considered extreme right and of questionable reliability

                I can't do much relpying right now because my baby is sleeping on my typing hand, but stateoftheunion2012.com is considered extreme right and of questionable reliability

                1 vote
          2. emdash
            Link Parent
            It's fading from spotlight anyway. Classifying it as objectionable & illegal to possess in New Zealand has only intensified how quickly that fade is happening. Again, you don't understand our...

            Yes, simply letting it fade from mind and not shining a spotlight on it would've worked better.

            It's fading from spotlight anyway. Classifying it as objectionable & illegal to possess in New Zealand has only intensified how quickly that fade is happening. Again, you don't understand our country's values correctly.

      5. [2]
        Grzmot
        Link Parent
        I personally don't have anything against censoring the manifesto, I'm only questioning if banning it will have the desired effect. Ultimately, you can most likely find it if you want to (haven't...

        I personally don't have anything against censoring the manifesto, I'm only questioning if banning it will have the desired effect. Ultimately, you can most likely find it if you want to (haven't tried as I'm not interested). My guess is locally in NZ there's some heavy (social) discouragement pushing people away from it already, so all the ban does is effectively put more attention on it.

        Question is if having more attention on it now due to the ban is worth it, and if it will really lead to it being more difficult to find later on. If not, one might just not bother.

        1 vote
        1. mat
          Link Parent
          One question I have is what is the desired effect? If it's keeping the manifesto out of everyone's hands, that's obviously unachievable. A sufficiently motivated person can always find stuff. But...

          One question I have is what is the desired effect? If it's keeping the manifesto out of everyone's hands, that's obviously unachievable. A sufficiently motivated person can always find stuff. But if it's keeping it out of as many people's hands as realistically possible - ie, not publishing it on national news sites (looking at you here Daily Mail, you fuckwads) while sending a strong message that NZ, as a society, will not tolerate that kind of thing.

          I'm not sure the Streisand Effect applies here. It's not like people don't already know about this shooting. There will always be "edgy" kids who will seek out things just because they are banned, that's part of learning why things get banned in the first place. I remember seeking out really nasty content on the internet when I was younger and then being shocked and upset by it.

          6 votes
  3. [6]
    Sahasrahla
    Link
    And from the link: Regardless of what one thinks about the ban, what about this? A person being imprisoned for 10 years for downloading the manifesto "onto their screen" seems wildly excessive....

    According to the Department of Internal Affairs, "knowingly" possessing or sharing objectionable material carries up to a 14 year jail term.

    And from the link:

    Anybody found “knowingly” in possession of objectionable material can receive a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.

    Every time a person downloads objectionable material onto their screen, there is the potential for a possession offence having been committed.

    Anybody who knowingly makes or knowingly trades, distributes, or displays an objectionable publication via the Internet can receive a maximum of 14 years imprisonment.

    A body corporate can be fined up to $200,000.

    Regardless of what one thinks about the ban, what about this? A person being imprisoned for 10 years for downloading the manifesto "onto their screen" seems wildly excessive. You could argue that's the maximum sentence and perhaps it is unlikely it would be applied, but it's still the law and allowing punishments far in excess of what is reasonable or expected has its own problems. A ban, if you support it, has to be enforced somehow but up to a decade in prison for something like this is inhumane.

    3 votes
    1. [5]
      Grzmot
      Link Parent
      What would your choice for a maximum sentence be? I think the particularly high one in this case is more to deter individuals than to actually put them in prison for 10 years. While higher...

      What would your choice for a maximum sentence be? I think the particularly high one in this case is more to deter individuals than to actually put them in prison for 10 years. While higher sentences don't mean a reduction in crime, I don't know if the same logic applies here.

      1. [4]
        Sahasrahla
        Link Parent
        Why should possession result in prison time at all? The point of a ban is to stop the spread of violent ideologies; in that light something like having to complete an anti-hate course (similar to...

        Why should possession result in prison time at all? The point of a ban is to stop the spread of violent ideologies; in that light something like having to complete an anti-hate course (similar to how courts sometimes require anger management classes) should be sufficient. For distributing such materials, a fine could be a good enough deterrent.

        I think the particularly high one in this case is more to deter individuals than to actually put them in prison for 10 years.

        I strongly disagree with allowing harsh sentences which we expect to never be used in practice for the purpose of acting as a deterrent. For one thing, if we expect that sentence will never be passed, then it won't be a deterrent. If we expect it could be used, then we lose the logic of "we don't have to worry about it because it won't actually be used." Such a practice encourages arbitrary and uneven application of justice, e.g. marijuana possession laws in some jurisdictions which effectively target certain groups because a judge can decide to be harsh at their discretion while society can turn a blind eye since most cases would only result in a 'slap on the wrist.'

        While higher sentences don't mean a reduction in crime, I don't know if the same logic applies here.

        I want to put this delicately, but maybe that's your own personal bias about the crimes and the groups involved. Think of the usual conservative and liberal approach to "tough on crime": conservatives very frequently advocate for harsh sentences, especially ones that in practice unevenly target minority communities, despite there being plenty of evidence that such a "tough on crime" approach doesn't work as well as the "fix the root causes" approach pushed by liberals (e.g. reducing poverty instead of locking people up and throwing away the key). Perhaps uncharitably, liberals will often look at the conservative mindset and say they're not actually wanting to stop crime (since they're not following the evidence) but instead they simply have a strong emotional reaction to the crimes and perhaps also to the groups stereotypically involved.

        In this particular instance though, we have a horrendous act of alt-right terrorism targeting a vulnerable and discriminated against community. It's natural and right to hate what happened and hate the person who committed such crimes and to hate the ideas that inspired him. But, as much hate as we have, the conservative "tough on crime" logic of excessive sentencing as a deterrent doesn't suddenly apply just because we want to believe it does. I don't want us to go down that path as a society where hatred is an excuse to ignore justice and fairness.

        6 votes
        1. [2]
          emdash
          Link Parent
          Because possession of objectionable content according to New Zealand is punishable by prison time. It's that simple. Would most possession cases result in prison time? Nope. The vast majority...

          Why should possession result in prison time at all?

          Because possession of objectionable content according to New Zealand is punishable by prison time. It's that simple. Would most possession cases result in prison time? Nope. The vast majority would be settled before it went to court proceedings.

          I strongly disagree with allowing harsh sentences which we expect to never be used in practice for the purpose of acting as a deterrent. For one thing, if we expect that sentence will never be passed, then it won't be a deterrent. If we expect it could be used, then we lose the logic of "we don't have to worry about it because it won't actually be used." Such a practice encourages arbitrary and uneven application of justice, e.g. marijuana possession laws in some jurisdictions which effectively target certain groups because a judge can decide to be harsh at their discretion while society can turn a blind eye since most cases would only result in a 'slap on the wrist.'

          This is the problem here. You're basically applying the American psyche of how laws work over there to a completely independent and sovereign nation whos laws & politics fall somewhere between western culture and scandinavian culture. This is nearly completely a straw man argument, simply because you don't have the correct cultural perspective to evaluate the issue.

          6 votes
          1. Sahasrahla
            Link Parent
            I'm neither American nor New Zealander, and I get that it can be a bit aggravating to have foreigners commenting on domestic matters in your country, but at the same time I don't think it's...

            I'm neither American nor New Zealander, and I get that it can be a bit aggravating to have foreigners commenting on domestic matters in your country, but at the same time I don't think it's unreasonable for people to voice an opinion on or discuss issues like crime and punishment in other countries. We're all human and we all, to some extent, belong to the same global culture. A moral argument about what we believe to be right or wrong doesn't stop at national borders.

            4 votes
        2. Grzmot
          Link Parent
          I think I didn't express myself well in my earlier post. I don't think that harsh(er) crime sentences are a good thing. An approach where rehabilitation is the focus of a sentence, to allow...

          I think I didn't express myself well in my earlier post. I don't think that harsh(er) crime sentences are a good thing. An approach where rehabilitation is the focus of a sentence, to allow someone back into society when they're "fixed" is a much better way forward.

          I don't think anyone who's simply reading this thing will be ever convicted of any crime. This is more to stop it's distribution in society (not just over the internet) similarly how yelling nazi paroles on a public square anywhere in western Europe will get you arrested and charged, and to show that NZ society as a collective shuns the manifesto and everyone who supports it.

          I think the upper limit is set so high to allow for discretion during a ruling. While I don't expect it to be ever maxed out, I think there are cases where it could be, for example if a copy-cat is caught during preparation of another attack. I don't know if you can really compare this case to marijuana posession laws in the US, because I think that those are a bad example of arbitrarily delivering justice in court while this is a case where a large range of discretion is justified.