PM looks for G20 support on terror laws

Prime Minister Scott Morrison hopes to rally support among world leaders for a crackdown on terrorists and violent extremists exploiting the internet, and social media in particular.

Mr Morrison will push in a formal session of the G20 in Osaka on Friday to move towards adopting a set of clear principles about what is expected from social media giants.

“Without trust in the internet, digitalisation cannot reach its full potential. It’s that trust that was broken in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack,” he is expected to say.

He has been moved by the attack in New Zealand – when an Australian man allegedly killed 51 Muslims at two mosques and wounded dozens more – to push for a global crackdown on the tech companies.

The coalition government, with the help of Labor, passed laws just before the federal election to make it a criminal offence for companies not to take down videos that show abhorrent violent content.

Mr Morrison on Friday intends to highlight the story of the youngest victim, three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim.

“Global leaders taking a stand for ambitious and concerted action should be the real legacy left by the horrific acts in Christchurch,” he is expected to tell the closed session.

“The most effective way to bring social media companies into line is working with other countries so the same high standards apply equally everywhere.”

He also plans to argue that leaders have a responsibility to make the internet safe, noting that several G20 countries are home to the platforms that host or support this violent content.

Many are based in the US, however, President Donald Trump may not actually be at the session as he has meetings with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the Brazilian president scheduled.

Mr Morrison will also seek to allay concerns the move could be seen as censorship, instead casting it as preventing the internet being used as a weapon of terrorist violence.

The prime minister discussed his initiative in meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Trump on Thursday night.

He told Mr Abe he strongly appreciated the Japanese leader’s support in including it on this year’s G20 agenda.

Australia believes it has already won over Canada and France, and Mr Morrison intends to lobby others during formal bilateral meetings and informal chats over the two days of the summit.


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