WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand’s prime minister said she will do all she can to stop a man accused of killing 51 Muslim worshippers from spreading his message of hate at his trial, while she hopes artificial intelligence will one day stop such attacks from being broadcast online.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described how she made decisions after the March 15 attacks at two Christchurch mosques, including introducing sweeping gun reforms and starting a global discussion on keeping violent extremism from the internet.
Australian white supremacist Brenton Tarrant, 29, has been charged with 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism in the attacks and goes on trial next June.
Ardern said she thought he would try to use the trial to promote his views.
“It’s clear that a part of this individual’s motivation is creating a platform for himself. I think that’s absolutely clear,” she said. “And I think every opportunity we can to deprive the alleged terrorist of that should be utilized.”
She said she was limited in what she could do but was encouraged by the pledge of New Zealand’s major media outlets to avoid promoting white supremacist ideology when covering the trial.
Ardern said she stood by her decision to never speak the alleged gunman’s name.
“If someone’s motivated by infamy, then you deprive them of it,” she said.
The gunman livestreamed his attack on Facebook. Ardern said she hoped artificial intelligence could be used to stop future attacks from being broadcast, and that everybody had a responsibility to prevent such broadcasts from continuing to happen.
“Even Facebook have made moves around the way that they utilize livestreaming and who can access it,” she said. “In the future, I believe we can actually use AI technology increasingly.”