Mosque killer dilemma: To name or not

The Christchurch mosque terrorist has a name which will live in infamy, and present the New Zealand news media with an enormous dilemma.

It is increasingly evident that the killer of 51 innocent people (and the wounding of 40 more) is determined to keep that name in front of the public. The best means of doing so from his isolation cell in the Prisoners of Extreme Risk Unit at Auckland Prison is through the courts. That automatically draws in news media that have an obligation to cover his interactions with the justice system.

Last week the only man in New Zealand ever sentenced to life imprisonment without parole used his right to judicial review. He applied to have his designation as a “terrorist entity” removed and changes made to his strict prison conditions.

An announcement by the Justice Ministry that his request would be heard in the High Court at Auckland on Thursday was duly reported and it was apparent some were news media were struggling with the dilemma they have faced since 15 March 2019: Should they give him the publicity he so desperately craves? In particular, should his name be published? Continue reading “Mosque killer dilemma: To name or not”

New guidelines on terrorism: I hope we will not need them


Last week the Broadcasting Standards Authority released guidance to broadcasters which, I sincerely hope, gathers digital dust in an unopened computer folder.

The world will be a better place if no New Zealand broadcaster has to ever access the file to ensure local coverage is in line with the detailed guidelines it contains.

The guidelines are not faulty. Nor is the BSA operating outside its remit. The reason  I hope they are never needed is because they cover acts of terrorism and violent extremism. Continue reading “New guidelines on terrorism: I hope we will not need them”