Wakeley church stabbing: NSW Premier Chris Minns attacks callous indifference of social media giants

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Remy Varga
The Nightly
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NSW Premier Chris Minns has slammed the ‘callous indifference’ of social media giants in hosting violent footage on their platforms.
NSW Premier Chris Minns has slammed the ‘callous indifference’ of social media giants in hosting violent footage on their platforms. Credit: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

NSW Premier Chris Minns has attacked the “callous indifference” of social media companies still hosting violent footage on their platforms as Sydney grapples with the fallout from a mass murder and a terror attack.

Mr Minns on Thursday said a “real trauma” had been inflicted on Sydney after a terror attack at a church in the suburb of Wakeley in the west just days after the NSW capital suffered a mass stabbing at the Westfield shopping complex in Bondi Junction.

“There’s people that have been killed, families are grieving,” Mr Minns told the ABC.

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“There’s a real sense of a febrile environment in Sydney.”

Mr Minns on Thursday walked through the Westfield shopping complex before it opened for the first time since Joel Cauchi, a drifter who suffered from schizophrenia, killed six people and injured at least 12 before he was shot dead by police inspector Amy Scott on Saturday.

Days after the massacre Assyrian Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was attacked during a livestreamed sermon that was watched by tens of thousands of people at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakely.

Mr Minns said he remained confident there were more good people than bad actors in Sydney and said the city had united in the aftermath of the violent crimes.

“There’ll be better days ahead so while life is partly returning to normal for different parts of the city, it won’t be the same,” he said.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested after the attack on Bishop Emmanuel as hundreds of the religious leader’s followers descended on Wakeley and violently clashed with police in a riot that lasted for hours.

Footage of the attack on Bishop Emmanuel, who has earned the moniker the TikTok Bishop for his livestreamed services, continues to circulate online.

Mr Minns on Thursday said he was shocked the social media platforms had yet to remove the vision from their platforms.

“I think it’s shocking that it’s still up there and the blithe indifference from social media companies as to the images that are on their platforms as if it’s all caring, no responsibility,” he said.

“We’re two days into this. It’s more than 48 hours after these images were first projected on social media.

“And in some instances, for some companies, they’re still up there. I mean, that to me demonstrates a callous indifference to what these images are doing in our community.”

In a video uploaded to the Christ the Good Shepherd Church’s social media accounts, orthodox Assyrian Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel reassured people he was recovering from his injuries and urged them not to “return to evil”.

“I’m doing fine, I’m recovering very quickly,” he said from hospital where he is in a stable condition.

He went on to say he was praying for the person who had allegedly attacked him.

“I forgive whoever has done this act, and I say to him you’re my son. I love you and I will always pray for you.

“And whoever sent you to do this. I forgive them as well in Jesus’ mighty name. I have nothing in my heart, but love for everyone.”

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