Canberra, Australia — Australia’s Parliament passed legislation on Thursday that could imprison social media executives if their platforms stream real violence such as the New Zealand mosque shootings. Critics warn that some of the most restrictive laws about online communication in the democratic world could have unforeseen consequences, including media censorship and reduced investment in Australia. The conservative government introduced the bills in response to the March 15 attacks in Christchurch in which an Australian white supremacist apparently used a helmet-mounted camera to broadcast live on Facebook as he shot worshippers in the two mosques. Australia’s government rushed the legislation through the last two days that Parliament sits before elections are expected in May, dispensing with the usual procedure of a committee scrutinizing its content first. Facebook advertisers boycott over streaming of New Zealand shooting “Together we must act to ensure that perpetrators and their accomplices cannot leverage online platforms for the purpose of spreading their violent and extreme propaganda — these platforms should not be weaponized for evil,” Attorney General Christian Porter told Parliament while introducing the bill. The opposition’s spokesman on the attorney general portfolio, Mark Dreyfus, committed his center-left Labor Party to support the bill despite misgivings…. Read full this story
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