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Banned: Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Australia was taken off-air by independently-owned Sky New Zealand because it was showing footage of the Christchurch massacre. The Murdoch channel said its decision to show edited footage of a Facebook stream attributed to the killer was “in line with other broadcasters”.

Can you smell the hypocrisy here?

Certain mainstream media organisations – naming no names because I don’t want to encourage anybody to look up this material – broadcast extracts from the live stream of the Christchurch killings earlier this week, and then condemned the social media for allowing live streaming.

Perhaps somebody should make these organisations aware of their own cynicism, in using this highly-offensive material as clickbait – enticing viewers to their websites with footage of this nature.

We might also point out the self-interest inherent in their demand that social media users be prevented from live streaming events – ensuring that the mainstream corporations maintain control over the news that we see. How many climate change strikes by schoolchildren were live streamed on Friday (March 15) – and how many were covered by the MSM?

It seems to me that the youngsters concerned, their friends and relatives, may all want to see, and have, a record of their participation in this important – vital! – pubic issue.

(I mention the climate change strike because it is a topic that should be widely-recognised; in fact I think a more important value of live streaming is in covering more localised issues that the MSM would overlook.)

Finally, in practical terms, there is the fact that the people posting questionable – or downright unacceptable – material are hard to ban because they do it from fake or anonymous social media accounts; close one down and, like the hydra, several more appear in its place. Perhaps this is another good reason for action to prevent people creating fake accounts. It could be done by demanding proof of identity.

Moves to end the creation of anonymous or fake accounts have been halted in the past by those who say it stifles free speech of people who might otherwise be unable to speak out about important issues. But, as a victim of hate posts by anonymous Twitter accounts, I think it could curtail some of the worst behaviour we see on the Internet. People write the most hateful screeds in the belief that they can’t be held to account for them.

So – yes, let’s attack the hypocrisy of mainstream media giants who both broadcast questionable material and then use its existence elsewhere to protect their own highly-profitable interests. But let’s also attack the culture of anonymity on the social media that provides a platform for this filth in the first place.


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