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A podcast presenting different perspectives on the status-update quo

(Selfie Reflective is on Instagram and Facebook, but email is where you want to be 💌)

Aug 10, 2020

Dr David Hall is a Political Theorist and lecturer at AUT University ~

On March 15th, 2019, our social media landscape and our real world became horrifyingly intertwined after a gunman entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and committed an act of terror.

Fifty-one people lost their lives in the attacks. Our hearts still ache for those who were most personally affected by this abhorrent crime. Since March 15th 2019, what’s now known as New Zealand’s darkest day, some citizens have grappled with the idea that perhaps our country is not as accepting, welcoming and kind as they might like to imagine - others have wondered with frustration and urgency about how we can dismantle the systems that listen to and respect some voices over others.

This terrorist attack was different to others that have occurred before, in that the gunman planned  and chose to live-stream this attack through Facebook. The video was viewed over 4,000 times before it was removed, and what became painfully clear is that our online spaces do not operate in a framework that keeps us safe from the amplification of content like this, which deliberately intend to incite hate, fear, intolerance and violence. In fact, with the way these platforms are built, the algorithms can even favour this type of content. For any sentient human being, many urgent questions were raised. Why was this video allowed to stream live for so long? What are the moderation policies? How can we prevent this from happening again?

Off the back of this horrific crime, the government introduced the Christchurch Call, which is - and I quote from the Christchurch Calls' website - ‘a commitment by Governments and tech companies to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.’

The Helen Clark Foundation, which is an independent public policy think tank, built on the Christchurch Call with what they coined The Christchurch Principles - ten principles which act as a role and responsibility framework for tech companies, states and society as a whole to respect human rights and enable those rights to flourish online.

In this episode, we’re speaking with Dr David Hall, a political theorist and AUT lecturer who helped write The Christchurch Principles, and even presented them at the Paris Peace Forum in 2019. David talks us through some of the challenges to democracy online, where the idea of free speech can be misguided and what The Christchurch Principles hope to inspire.

Dr David Hall is a political theorist with a focus on complex contemporary issues, including climate change, migration, and democracy in the digital era. He is a Lecturer at AUT University, co-director of the newly launched Climate Innovation Lab, and recently attended the Paris Peace Forum to promote the Christchurch Principles, a democratic framework for reducing harmful online content. His most recent publication is A Careful Revolution: Towards a Low-Emissions Future (BWB Texts).


To read more about The Christchurch Principles, check out the full Christchurch Principles' document here, and this Spinoff article. David has written extensively about free speech. Read this, this and this to keep the critical thinking going. Dr David Hall also edited and features in Fair Borders, a book that looks closely at modern migration policy.

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