Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

Sky New Zealand bans Sky News Australia over attacks coverage

The channel made the decision because of Rupert Murdoch's company decision to show 'distressing' footage

A policewoman walks with a Muslim woman into the community centre on March 17, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Getty
A policewoman walks with a Muslim woman into the community centre on March 17, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Getty

Sky New Zealand has suspended Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News Australia until the channel refrains from broadcasting sensitive footage from the Christchurch shootings in which a white supremacist shot dead 50 people on Friday.

The independently-owned channel tweeted on Saturday that it had removed the 24-hour news channel from its platform because of the distressing images.

“We stand in support of our fellow New Zealanders and have made the decision to remove Sky News Australia from our platform until we are confident that the distressing footage from yesterday’s events will not be shared,” it wrote.

“All other news channels are still available. BBC World and CNN are available on SKY GO.”

The tweet was later deleted. The two platforms are not directly linked, despite the shared Sky name.

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Criticism was aimed at the channel after it continued to show GoPro footage shot by the gunman despite calls from authorities not to circulate it. The shooter filmed a 17-minute Facebook live video, including his drive to a mosque where he began his rampage, as well as showing off his weapons arsenal.

“Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online,” the police said in a statement. “We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed.”

Social media giants Facebook, YouTube and Twitter say they are making attempts to remove the video wherever possible.

It remains unclear when Sky News Australia will be re-added to the platform but the two media organisations remain in negotiations.

In Britain, several media outlets including the Daily Mail also chose to defy the request to not spread the footage.

Updated: March 17, 2019 11:32 AM

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