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Ardern says Christchurch Call making 'tangible progress', two years on from terrorist attack

Close to two years on from the Christchurch Call - an international effort to counter terrorist and violent extremist activity online in the aftermath of the March 15, 2019 terrorist attack - Jacinda Ardern says progress has been made.

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Jacinda Ardern has endeavoured to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. Source: Breakfast

Since its launch on May 15, 2019 the Christchurch Call has more than 50 countries and international organisations on board.

The first report into the Call's progress has just been released.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who spearheaded the initiative released a statement today, saying "tangible progress" has been made.

Undertaken by France and New Zealand, Ardern said the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach, with countries, companies and civil society is working together to achieve results.

Ten tech companies are also now supporters of the Call and have undertaken a wide range of initiatives in their own field to deliver on their shared commitments.

"Since its launch in Paris on 15 May 2019, more than 50 countries and international organisations, together with ten tech companies, are now supporters of the Call and have undertaken a wide range of initiatives in their own field to deliver on their shared commitments," the statement said. 

"Three crisis response protocols are now operational that did not exist at the time of the Christchurch attacks. They enable a rapid and coordinated response to online events between governments and companies.

"The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) has been reformed as an independent entity to bring together the technology industry, government, civil society, and academia to counter terrorist and violent extremist activity online.

"Governments, companies and civil society groups are working together in ways that they were not before.

"And there is an increased focus on research into terrorism and violent extremist content online that provides a strong base to continue to develop our efforts," Ardern said. 

“After the 15 March terrorist attacks, New Zealand said that what happened here should not happen anywhere else and I’m encouraged by the progress made since the atrocities committed in 2019,” she said.

”The focus of the Christchurch Call community must be on making tangible progress, and the findings from the stocktake report are promising.”

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France's President Emmanuel Macron said: “The more tech platforms there are committed to implementing the commitments of the Call, the stronger we will be collectively in limiting the use of the internet by terrorists to plan and spread their hate - and preventing terrorist acts from happening in the first place."

Both leaders said increasing tech company support would be a priority for the New Zealand and French Call team in the coming year, as would progress on understanding more about the effects of algorithmic processes and responding effectively to the full range of terrorist and violent extremist content, including in emergency responses.

“I have no doubt that progress to date has already made it harder for those pushing terrorist or violent extremist content online,”  Ardern said.

“While our progress in the first year has been good there is still more work to do.

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Proposed changes include creating a new offence for anyone planning or preparing a terrorist act. Source: 1 NEWS

“We must continue to work towards better understanding the algorithms that promote content online, to identify intervention points and prevent exploitation by malicious actors.”

Macron said he wanted to see providers take a stronger stance on content delivered across all of their services, in addition to that hosted on social media platforms.

“The Call community can be proud of its work so far on this issue, but there remains more to do.” Emmanuel Macron said “it remains important that Call supporters keep delivering on substance, while protecting a free, open and secure internet and respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

“We will continue to honour those who were killed and injured on 15 March, and since, by maintaining our focus on these efforts,and trying to prevent what happened to them from happening to anyone else," Ardern said.