After the vigils and prayers, what next?

what next

Some people are starting to ask hard questions about what will happen next. Will the nation just “move on”?

“We will condemn this horrifying act of violence as extreme and out of the ordinary, we will come together as a nation and hold vigils, and we will try to move on from this tragic incident,” says Lamia Imam.

But she thinks that unless some very difficult actions are taken “vigils and speeches are useless. We are just waiting for the next massacre”.

“We need policy changes from the government – to media outlets to social media platforms.

“We need to decide what our values are and if anti-immigrant racist sentiments align to those values.”

If they don’t, she says such sentiments should not be given a platform.

Though Facebook New Zealand, Google and Twitter all issued statements hours after the attack that they were working with the New Zealand Police to take down content associated with the attack, the content had by then spread far and wide across the web.

“If we want to change hearts and minds, we must show what the alternative is,” said Imam.

Editors have to be willing to give up on “clicks”, political leaders have to be willing to reject “racist votes”, social media platforms have to forgo revenue.

The New Zealand Government has sought “urgent” advice from the State Services Commission about how its agencies use social media platforms.

Many New Zealand businesses said they are reassessing their use of social media channels for advertising.

The CEOs of three of New Zealand’s largest broadband providers, Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees, have published an open letter to the major social media providers.

Following European proposals which include taking down material within a specified period, they suggest proactive measures and fines of up to $80m for failure to do so.

Dr Paul Ralph has published an open letter to Facebook.

He lists the role social media play in terrorism and hate speech.

Ralph goes on to suggest what the social media platforms could and must do to stop providing extremists with a platform to spread their message.

Lamia Imam was born in NZ and grew up in Bangladesh and the US before attending the University of Canterbury, majoring in Political Science and Law. She currently works as a Communications Manager in Austin, Texas.

Paul Ralph is a senior lecturer in computer science at the University of Auckland.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , , ,