Jacinda Ardern has 'real opportunity' for change at Christchurch Call summit - Helen Clark

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has a "real opportunity" to create change at Paris' Christchurch Call summit, says former PM Helen Clark. 

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The former Prime Minister spoke about Ms Ardern’s trip to Paris to try to tackle social media issues. Source: Q+A

"New Zealand is in a leadership role. What she is proposing with others with the Christchurch Call is around terrorist and violent extremism," Miss Clark told TVNZ1's Q+A last night. 

Ms Ardern is in Paris leading a summit that is looking into the prevention of videos such as the one broadcast live on Facebook of the Christchurch terrorist attack, where 51 people were killed. It comes as The Helen Clark Foundation released a report on reducing the spread of harmful content on social media.

Source: Q+A

"Our issues in the discussion paper are going a bit wider... but I think she’s got a real opportunity to set the pace here," Miss Clark said. 

The foundation's executive director Katherine Errington spoke about New Zealand's hate speech laws, calling them "too narrow". 

"They protect communities from racial vilification, as they should. But why shouldn’t they also extend to the rainbow community?"

The Foundation's recommendations include for the Government to create legislation in response to terrorist and harmful content online and for it to consider "how hate speech and hate crimes are currently protected and prosecuted against under New Zealand law".

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The former Prime Minister talks about hate speech and harmful content on social media. Source: Q+A

Miss Clark said she was concerned "about the rising level of rhetoric on social media from people who think they can get away with just about anything".

"And let’s face it, they can. I have regularly reported very hateful content, and very often you just get these reports dismissed.

"That’s why you now need what this report recommends, which is the statutory duty to self-regulate, and then you need the regulator overseeing that."

Ms Errington said internationally three different types of penalties were emerging in cases where duty of care is placed on social media companies. 

"The first is financial penalties, the second is liability on executives, and the third is business disruption.

"That’s things like internet service providers being ordered to take sites down."

Read: Changing hate speech laws would 'not necessarily' have prevented Christchurch attacks - Helen Clark

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The former PM's comment came on the eve of Jacinda Ardern's summit in Paris on reigning in social media. Source: Q+A

* Q+A is on TVNZ 1 on Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.