Wednesday, 22 May 2019
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Ardern, Macron host Paris summit against online extremism

(AFP Photo/BERTRAND GUAY)

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand’s premier Jacinda Ardern will Wednesday host other world leaders and leading tech chiefs to launch an ambitious new initiative aimed at curbing extremism online.

The initiative, known as the “Christchurch call”, was pushed by Ardern after a self-described white supremacist gunned down 51 people in a massacre at two mosques in the New Zealand city in March, the country’s worst atrocity of recent times.

Participants will be asked to commit to pledges to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content on social media and other online platforms.

The political meeting will run in parallel to an initiative launched by Macron called Tech for Good which will bring together 80 tech chiefs in Paris to find a way for new technologies to work for the common good.

The summit comes as there is a growing realisation that the current abuse of social media by extremists must be countered, after the Christchurch attacker broadcast live footage on Facebook from a head-mounted camera.

Ardern has been the driving force behind the Paris summit following the tragedy.

The New Zealand leader earned huge international prominence and respect after the attacks by reaching out to Muslim communities at home and vowing a widescale crackdown on extremist content.

Other key leaders attending include Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Theresa May and EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.

Prominent figures from tech and social networks will also be present, most notably Twitter founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey who will also have bilateral talks with Ardern.

However to the disappointment of some, a notable absentee will be Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, who held talks in Paris with Macron last week.

The social network giant, under fire from all quarters over its response to violent extremist content, will instead by represented by its vice president for global affairs and communications Nick Clegg, the former British deputy premier.

The Christchurch call meeting is to get underway around 1400 GMT and finish with a press conference by Ardern and Macron at 1600 GMT.

The Tech for Good meeting will also be attended by the CEO of ride hailing app Uber Dara Khosrowshahi, who will later have bilateral talks with Macron.

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