Pseudo-documentary using March 15 attacks footage given interim ban

Source: 1News

A “pseudo-documentary” using footage from the March 15 mosque attacks has been given an interim ban by the Acting Chief Censor for advancing a “toxic strain of misinformation that claims the attacks did not happen”.

A range of Commissioner's Awards will be presented to 59 staff for their involvement in Operation Deans, following the 2019 mass shooting at two mosques that left 51 people dead.

The interim decision to ban The Three Faced Terrorist for objectionable content was issued by Rupert Ablett-Hampson on Tuesday afternoon.

It comes after the first part of the pseudo-documentary was banned in February for using “extensive footage” of the livestream.

The second part, which has since also been released, also includes extensive footage of the attacks during its 33-minute runtime. It also features edited clips from news coverage and interviews broadcast soon afterwards, accompanied by a voiceover claiming the attacks were fabricated.

"I am deeply sorry for the pain and distress that this publication and publicity around it will cause the families and friends of those who died in the March 15 Mosque attacks in Christchurch," Ablett-Hampson said in a statement.

"The video uses extensive footage of the murders of the worshippers at the mosques on March 15 to advance a toxic strain of misinformation that claims the attacks did not happen, which must be very hurtful for those who lost loved ones.

"I have used my call-in power and the office has issued a decision to ban the publication as objectionable, on an interim basis, under the Films, Videos, & Publications Classification Act 1993. It features extreme cruelty and violence and is degrading, dehumanising and demeaning to the victims."

The Classification Office will issue a final decision within 20 days, he said.

"It’s important to make this interim decision so the public is aware that this material is objectionable under New Zealand law.

"New Zealanders should not engage with this content, and they should report it to the Department of Internal Affairs if they see it. Downloading, sharing and viewing it is an offence, and we have let enforcement agencies know about our decision."

An analysis and decision on the publication will be published in due course.