Australia blocks websites hosting Christchurch video

Australia’s e-safety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, has been granted the power to order websites to block access to websites hosting video of the Christchurch terror attacks. Forty-three websites were proactively blocked by Internet providers, while eight websites were covered by the order, meaning the e-safety commissioner will monitor these sites. If the offending material is removed, a website can be unblocked. According to Grant, ‘The slippery slope argument I keep seeing [is] this is not obscene content or objectionable content [but] it’s clearly illegal. I don’t see any public interest in making this kind of material that is designed to humiliate and to incite further terrorist acts and hatred’.

Engadget points out that opponents argue that actions should be directed to those who upload the videos, not the host websites, and critics have ‘concerns this could lead to Australia blocking sites for content that exists in gray areas. And of course, there are questions over whether or not the government should block sites in the first place.