Curbing online extremism key focus for Jacinda Ardern at UN General Assembly - expert

  • 05/09/2022

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to attend the United Nations General Assembly and as usual, trade, investment and tourism are on the list of topics Ardern will promote.

But topping the list is curbing online extremism.    

International relations expert Robert Patman told Melissa Chan-Green on AM fighting back against violent online extremism will likely be the Prime Minister's main goal. 

After departing New Zealand on September 17 to New York, along with attending the UN General Assembly, Ardern will also co-host a Christchurch Call to Action Leaders' Summit and participate in events to promote trade, investment, and tourism.

Patman said the UN is a much wider audience for Ardern to intensify the Christchurch Call campaign.

"In the world we live in, small and middle powers have a much greater role to play," Patman said. "Many of the problems confronting State, big and small, do not respect borders and that gives opportunity for smaller players to play their role."

In the aftermath of the March 15 terror attacks, the Christchurch Call was created to tackle the use of tech platforms to distribute and find extremist violent content.

Over 120 governments, online service providers, and civil society organisations have signed up to the call, including 55 countries, but Patman said Ardern will be trying to gain more support for the initiative.

She will co-host the Christchurch Call to Action Leaders' Summit with President of France Emmanuel Macron on September 20.

"I look forward to meeting with heads of state and global tech leaders to continue our important work to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online," Ardern said.

Patman said all level democracies are very worried about the circulation of misinformation and disinformation "which in term can threaten the legitimacy of democratic processes."

Online extremism will also likely be a focus for NZSIS and GCSB Minister Andrew Little while he visits all four other members of the Five Eyes intelligence partnership this month, Patman said.

Watch the full interview with Robert Patman above.