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New Zealand prime minister vows to keep the mosque shooter "nameless"

"He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing—not even his name.”

by Emma Ockerman
Mar 19 2019, 2:23pm

New Zealand’s prime minister has vowed not to give the mosque shooter the sort of notoriety he clearly desires. During a parliamentary meeting Tuesday, PM Jacinda Ardern said she will never speak his name.

“He is a terrorist, he is a criminal, he is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless,” Ardern said during the nation’s first parliamentary meeting since the gunman killed more than 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday. She continued: “To others, I implore you: Speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them. He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing—not even his name.”

The 28-year-old Australian national accused of carrying out the shooting has been charged with murder, and Ardern said he will likely face more charges relating to the nation’s worst-ever terrorist attack. He’s currently representing himself in court, and will next appear on April 5. Ahead of the attack, which was briefly live-streamed on Facebook, he released a lengthy manifesto promoting racist, white supremacist ideology and published it to internet forums used by racists.

Many researchers studying mass shootings have cited the “contagion effect” as one reason why media and high-profile officials should avoid repeatedly naming suspected shooters, essentially saying that the fame of one shooter could lead to copycat attacks. The activist group “No Notoriety,” founded after the mass shooting in a Aurora, Colorado, movie theater that killed 12 people, has promoted a set of media guidelines that limit the public’s exposure to a criminal and their manifestos or statements about a crime.

On Monday, Ardern also announced New Zealand will be exploring gun reform as a result of the attack, with a goal of getting it done by next week. The alleged shooter obtained a gun license in 2017 and utilized five guns — two of which were semi-automatic weapons — in the mosque attacks. She’s demanded since the attacks that social media platforms like Facebook rein in hateful content, and limit access to Tarrant’s manifesto.

The Association of New Zealand advertisers has said that local businesses may pull advertisements from Facebook until that content is resolved, according to the New York Times.