New Zealand police arrest man over video offences, remind public not to share mosque shooting footage


by Kerri Breen, Global News:

A New Zealand man is facing charges as police continue to ask the public not to share video of the Christchurch terrorist attack.

New Zealand Police said Sunday that a 22-year-old man has been charged under New Zealand’s Films Videos and Publications Classification Act, under which is it an offence to possess “an objectionable publication.”

READ MORE: Bodies of victims remain in police custody following New Zealand mosque attack

Police did not give the man’s name, nor did they outline charges or specify the allegations. The man is set to appear in court on Monday.

Police said he was arrested in the initial stages of the attack investigation, but is not believed to have been involved. On Friday, a gunman carried out attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, killing 50 people.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with murder and is expected to face further charges.

WATCH: Christchurch prepares for burials as victims’ friends, families wait for release of bodies

The shootings were live-streamed and appeared on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The platforms have vowed to remove the videos, which police say have has been classified by New Zealand’s Chief Censor’s Office as objectionable.

“We would like to remind people that it is an offence to distribute or possess an objectionable publication … which carries a penalty of imprisonment,” police said in a statement on Sunday.

READ MORE: In wake of New Zealand attack, experts say mass shootings can spur stricter gun control

Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos globally in the first 24 hours after the attack, over 1.2 million were blocked upon upload.

The company said it is also removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content out of respect for the people affected by the mosque shooting and the concerns of local authorities.

Youtube and Twitter have also committed to scrubbing video of the attack from their platforms but have not released data on those efforts.

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