InternetNZ condemns online threats against Māori
A blog from Jordan Carter, Chief Executive of InternetNZ
InternetNZ strongly condemns the creation and posting of a video on Sunday inciting the massacre of Māori people.
There is no place for this kind of hatred, discrimination and call to violence on the Internet in New Zealand or anywhere.
InternetNZ stands for an Internet for good. The Internet holds immense potential to make our lives, our communities and our country better. This video, and content like it, is a horrible misuse of that potential and we condemn it in the fiercest possible terms.
There is no place for content of this sort, and for making or sharing it in a way that threatens Māori or any other person that calls Aotearoa home.
We honour and thank the Māori champions who stood up to see this material taken down.
When we learned about this video on Monday, we feared any statement by InternetNZ would have the unintended effect of drawing attention to this material, and worsening the fear and harm caused. We have heard clearly that we got this call wrong, and that people looked to us instead for support in the face of an horrendous attack.
I apologise for that. It is not a mistake we will make again.
Ever since the Christchurch attacks, and growing evidence of the rising tide of content that appears to be inspired by white supremacy and extremist nationalism, we have participated with the Christchurch Call and with domestic policy processes to address threats and harms to all New Zealanders online.
We have been arguing for an Internet that is good for New Zealand and New Zealanders. We have tried to support policy and practices that help tackle these problems. At the same time, we are humble about the fact that our organisation has few levers in controlling the diffusion of content like this — in practice, it is governments and the platforms with the tools to act.
One thing we have is our voice. We will use it more skilfully from now on.
Dealing with the sharing of hateful content like this on the Internet is not easy. It involves balancing a tricky set of issues — how to preserve the creative potential and freedom of expression online, while also condemning and ensuring consequences that use the Internet to cause harm. We all — as a country — need to work out how to make sure material like this is not shared or left online, without also inadvertently taking down critiques or news about these issues.
There are also emergency powers within the .nz domain name space where, on instruction from the authorities and where there is an emergency, a domain name that is involved can be suspended on the decision of the Domain Name Commissioner.
We have more work to do here. We are working closely with our Chief Advisor Māori on how we effectively work with Māori and every other New Zealander. This includes how we can use our role and responsibility as a voice for the Internet’s potential, and as the guardian of the .nz domain space, to better respond in the future to harms like this. We want to build an Internet that realises its potential for the good of Aotearoa — and beyond our shores too.