Christchurch Call makes significant progress

Significant progress has been delivered in the year since the Christchurch Call to Action brought governments and tech companies together in Paris with a single goal to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

On its first anniversary, Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron as the founding leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to the Call and commended supporters’ efforts so far.

“Because of the Christchurch Call, we can coordinate internationally across governments and tech companies to stop terrorist and violent extremist attempts to weaponise the internet,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“If an attack like we saw on March 15 last year happened again, we have an international network of governments and tech companies ready to mobilise and work against the forces that boosted the viral spread of content from Christchurch and caused such widespread harm.

“In the wake of the March 15 terrorist attack New Zealanders wanted to take action to stop what happened in our country occurring anywhere else. I am proud of the advances we have made in the last year.

“I have no doubt the work we have undertaken to date has already made it harder for those pushing terrorist and violent extremist content through the internet and social media in the way we saw in Christchurch,” Jacinda Ardern said.

The Call is supported by 48 countries, the European Commission, two international organisations, and eight tech companies. New Zealand and France are looking to add to that list of companies in 2020.

The Christchurch Call Advisory Network of civil society members helps to ensure ongoing work strikes the right balance between protecting our populations from online harm, while still guarding freedom of expression, and our belief in a free, open, secure internet.

Also today, Ardern and Macron have released a joint statement reaffirming their commitment to the Call and to its multistakeholder collaboration.

Ongoing efforts will see New Zealand, alongside France, providing input to the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) as it reaches a crucial phase of restructure.

The two countries will also be part of the new multistakeholder GIFCT Independent Advisory Committee and the organisation’s working groups that will take forward priority Call work, including crisis response, transparency, algorithmic outcomes and research.

“We are dealing with a global problem, which requires a global response,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“We have achieved a lot but I am under no illusions we have much more to do.

“Malicious actors will always be searching for new ways to promote terrorism and violent extremism, and inflict harm, online.

“For as long they are, we will be working to counter them,” Jacinda Ardern said.