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Australia plans to censor extremist online content

Speaking from the G7 in Biarritz Sunday, Scott Morrison said the measures were needed in response to the deadly attack on two New Zealand mosques in March.

FILE: Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison talks to the media outside a polling booth during Australia's general election in Sydney on 18 May 2019. Picture: AFP

SYDNEY - Australia plans to block websites to stop the spread of extreme content during "crisis events", the country's prime minister has said.

Speaking from the G7 in Biarritz Sunday, Scott Morrison said the measures were needed in response to the deadly attack on two New Zealand mosques in March.

The live-streamed murder of 51 worshippers "demonstrated how digital platforms and websites can be exploited to host extreme violent and terrorist content," he said in a statement.

"That type of abhorrent material has no place in Australia, and we are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes, including taking action locally and globally."

Under the measures, Australia's eSafety Commissioner would work with companies to restrict access to domains propagating terrorist material.

A new 24/7 Crisis Coordination Centre will be tasked with monitoring terror-related incidents and extremely violent events for censorship.

In the wake of the Christchurch attack, Australia set up a task force with global tech giants like Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter to address the spread of extremist material online.

It is not yet clear how the measures will be enforced. Morrison has previously suggested that legislation may come if technology companies do not cooperate.

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