Christchurch Call: One year Anniversary

Joint statement: the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister of New Zealand and His Excellency Emmanuel Macron President of the French Republic.

One year since we launched, in Paris, the Christchurch Call to Action, New Zealand and France stand proud of the progress we have made toward our goal to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online, and are committed to continuing progress.

For one year, and for the first time, governments, major tech companies and civil society representatives have been working cooperatively together to stop and prevent attacks like the one we saw in Christchurch being broadcast and spread online.

48 countries, the European Commission, two international organisations, and eight tech companies are now actively contributing to the implementation of the Call commitments, together with an Advisory Network of 44 international civil society representatives, which include non-governmental organisations, academia, think-tanks and others who focus on human rights (including freedom of expression and digital rights), counter-radicalization, victim support and public policy.

The multistakeholder collaboration of the Christchurch Call has enabled significant progress over the past year:

– When the Christchurch terror attack was livestreamed across social media just over one year ago, its reach was amplified by a network of malicious actors working together to deliberately and relentlessly modify the footage to avoid the existing safety checks of online platforms. Thanks to the Christchurch Call to Action, we now have the means to coordinate across governments and tech companies to respond to attempts to use the internet as a terrorist weapon;

– Tech companies have reformed the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT) into an independent organisation with dedicated resources, a 24/7 crisis management function, and an enhanced governance structure. The reformed GIFCT now includes an Independent Advisory Committee to guide its work, scheduled for launch mid-2020, and composed of governments and civil society organisations.

– A crisis response protocol has been adopted and already been used: in October 2019 and February of this year, the GIFCT companies demonstrated a far quicker and more efficient response to real-world attacks that had the potential to develop into online crises.

While this is a promising start, we have more to do.

New Zealand and France will continue to engage regularly with partners and supporters to continue implementing the Christchurch Call commitments. This includes as members of the GIFCT Independent Advisory Committee, where we will seek to provide insight, alongside civil society, to the organisation’s Operating Board. We expect the new, multistakeholder working groups launched within the GIFCT, to provide crucial input into solutions that substantially shape the international response to eliminating terrorist and violent extremist content online for years to come.

New Zealand and France together, as co-founders of the Call, will also work to broaden commitment to the Call this year, focusing particularly on the tech industry, including small and medium-sized companies.

The work of the Christchurch Call will not cease. Malicious actors are still searching for new ways to promote terrorism and violent extremism, and inflict harm, online. We will work together to prevent and counter them.

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