New Zealand / Christchurch Terror Attacks

Christchurch mosque shootings: 'Manifesto' deemed objectionable

14:54 pm on 23 March 2019

A publication reportedly written by the man accused of the Christchurch shootings has been officially classified as objectionable by the Chief Censor.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The document was examined under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act and was deemed objectionable for a number of reasons.

Chief Censor David Shanks said others have referred to the publication as a "manifesto", but he considers it a "crude booklet" which promotes murder and terrorism.

Mr Shanks said this publication crosses the line to make it objectionable under New Zealand law.

"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," he said.

He recognised the publication had been widely reported on during the past week, with media publishing commentary on it and on occasion making it available through links or downloadable copies.

"Most New Zealanders who have read this will simply find it repellent, but most New Zealanders are not the target audience.

"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," Mr Shanks said.

Those who have the publication for legitimate purposes, such as reporters, researchers and academics to analyse and educate can apply for an exception.

Anyone who sees the material online is being asked to report it immediately.

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