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New Zealand man sentenced to 21 months in prison for redistributing Christchurch massacre video

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Wellington | June 18, 2019 2:41:28 PM IST
A New Zealand man on Tuesday was sentenced to 21 months in prison for redistributing the live-stream video of the attack on two Christchurch mosques that claimed the lives of 51 people.

44-year-old Philip Neville Arps has pleaded guilty on two charges of distributing objectionable material. He had sent copies of the footage -- that was live-streamed by the attacker on his Facebook account -- to about 30 people days after the incident, reported CNN.Under New Zealand law, distributing objectionable material to another person carries a possible prison sentence of up to 14 years. The video was classified as objectionable by New Zealand's chief censor days after the attack, making the sharing, possessing and hosting of the footage an offence.

Announcing the sentence, Judge Stephen O'Driscoll said that when Arps was asked for his opinion on the video, he described it as "awesome".

"Your offending glorifies and encourages the mass murder carried out under the pretext of religious and racial hatred," Judge O'Driscoll said. "It is clear from all the material before me that you have strong and unrepentant views towards the Muslim community."

Fewer than 200 people had watched the live stream during the attack, which Facebook said it removed 29 minutes after it began. But within 24 hours, users had attempted to re-upload the video onto Facebook more than 1.5 million times. Facebook and some other social media companies were heavily criticised for failing to curb the spread of that footage.

However, the social media giant later introduced new rules for its live streaming feature. The company also announced that it will invest USD 7.5 million in a research partnership with universities that would study ways to improve the existing image and video analysis technology.

51 people had lost their lives and about as many were injured after a suspected white supremacist targeted two mosques, open firing at those congregated for Friday prayers on March 15.

The act of terrorism left the entire Muslim community shaken, with the international community and locals showing their solidarity with the affected. (ANI)

 
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