US refuses to join NZ-led ‘Christchurch Call’ to curb online extremism

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Washington DC, May 16: The United States has on Wednesday refused to join an initiative led by New Zealand which aimed at boosting tech firms and nations to curb online extremism post Christchurch terror attack which took place on May 15.

According to ANI news reports, around 18 leaders from all over the globe has signed a non-binding deal “Christchurch Call”, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

In an official statement, the White House said, “While the United States is not currently in a position to join the endorsement, we continue to support the overall goals reflected in the call. We will continue to engage governments, industry and civil society to counter terrorist content on the internet.”

Washington’s statement also cited freedom of the press and freedom of expression as reasons to not comply with the agreement.

The statement added, “We encourage technology companies to enforce their terms of service and community standards that forbid the use of their platforms for terrorist purposes. We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online while also continuing to respect freedom of expressions and freedom of the press.”

The “Christchurch Call” was announced in Paris on Wednesday during a meeting of digital leaders of G7 countries, two months after a mass shooting took place on two New Zealand’s mosques in Christchurch which claimed the lives of more than 50 worshipers and as many as injured.

The summit was organized by French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand Prime Minister (PM) Jacinda Ardern.

NZ PM Ardern was quoted by CNN as saying, “This call to action is not just about regulation, but instead about bringing companies to the table and saying, ‘You have a role too, and we have expectations from you’.”




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