New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern vows never to utter name of Christchurch gunman

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, has vowed never to refer to the Christchurch mosque attacker by his name, as she said he would face "the full force of the law."

Brenton Tarrant, an Australian white supremacist, gunned down 50 worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch last week and broadcast the footage live on the internet.

He is now in police custody awaiting trial and has asked to represent himself in court, prompting concerns he will seek to use the legal system as a platform for his far-right ideology.

But Ms Ardern said she wanted to ensure that the killer did not enjoy any publicity as a result of the shooting, and that attention should instead focus on his victims. "He sought many things from his act of terror but one was notoriety," she said.

"That is why you will never hear me mention his name."

She also implored others "to speak the names of those who are lost, rather than the name of the man who took them". Relatives of the victims say they have been overwhelmed by support from New Zealanders, who have flocked to vigils in Christchurch following Friday’s attack. 

Janna Ezat, whose son Hussein died as he charged at Tarrant in an attempt to save lives, said he was wearing white instead of mourning black because he was so proud of him. 

It came as Facebook sought to defend itself from criticism about Tarrant using the social media website to broadcast the massacre, as it claimed no one reported the video while it was being live streamed. In a blog post on Tuesday, Chris Sonderby, vice president and deputy general counsel at Facebook, said the video was viewed fewer than 200 times during its live broadcast.

"No users reported the video during the live broadcast. Including the views during the live broadcast, the video was viewed about 4,000 times in total before being removed from Facebook," he said.

"The first user report on the original video came in 29 minutes after the video started, and 12 minutes after the live broadcast ended. "Before we were alerted to the video, a user on 8chan posted a link to a copy of the video on a file-sharing site," he added, referring to an online message board with links to far-right movements.

But Ms Ardern said social media firms needed to take responsibility for the content, as they were "the publisher, not just the postman." "There is no question that ideas and language of division and hate have existed for decades, but their form of distribution, the tools of organisation, they are new," she told the New Zealand parliament.

How Tarrant's hate spread across social media

"We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published."

Meanwhile, Turkish president  Tayyip Recep Erdogan called on New Zealand to reinstate the death penalty in response to the massacre. “If the New Zealand parliament doesn’t make this decision I will continue to argue this with them constantly. The necessary action needs to be taken," he told an election rally.

Mr Erdogan has faced criticism for using footage of the shootings and extracts from Tarrant’s manifesto to drum up domestic support among Muslim voters.   


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