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Govt aims to take down extremist online material in Australia


Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has ramped up the pressure on websites spreading “evil” hate messages after more than 20 people were killed in a suspected terrorist attack in the US.

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American authorities have cited a manifesto posted online and attributed to suspect Patrick Crusius, 21, as evidence the bloodshed in El Paso, Texas was racially motivated.

The four-page statement posted on online message board 8chan, which is often used by extremists, called the attack “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas”.

Dutton believes companies must do more to get hateful content pulled off the internet.

“They are making a lot of money and they are involved in spreading these hate messages and we need to stop it,” he told Seven’s Sunrise on Tuesday.

Dutton said many online media companies were operating out of Russia or other countries where the rule of law does not apply in the same way as western democracies.

“If people in Australia can access that evil content, we want to make sure we can pull it down,” he said.

He said the depth of hatred was damaging children and being proliferated through online media, which operates on different rules to traditional platforms.

The minister confirmed racist, anti-immigration views were being shared online in Australia.

“There are crazy people in all of our societies and we need to face up to that reality and we need to deal with it,” he said.

Australian man Brenton Tarrant has pleaded not guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 of attempted murder and one terror offence over shootings in New Zealand which were broadcast on Facebook.

The post attributed to the Texas shooting suspect expressed support for the gunman who attacked two Christchurch mosques in March.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison secured agreement at the G20 leaders’ summit in June from world leaders who banded together to condemn live-streaming of hateful content.

Dutton said Australia’s focus extended to child pornography and abuse being broadcast online.

“We need to get the content down and we need some of these companies to do a lot more than what they are doing at the moment,” he said.


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