Sky News Australia, a subsidiary of News Corp Australia, has been dropped by New Zealand’s biggest satellite television provider after the news network aired distressing footage of a livestream video connected to the Friday shooting in Christchurch which left 49 dead.
Sky News Australia is available via subscription in Australia and on New Zealand’s SKY Network Television. Despite similar names, SKY is not affiliated with Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News networks.
At least 49 people were shot dead Friday in a terror attack that targeted two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. A further 42 people were injured, including a four-year-old child in critical condition, authorities said.
The event marks the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history and one of the deadliest in the world.
The shooter has been identified as 28-year-old Australian man, Brenton Tarrant, who has been charged with murder. Two other suspects remain in police custody and authorities are working to determine their involvement.
As the attack was unfolding, a 16-minute livestreamed video of the shooting was posted to Facebook, where it quickly spread across the platform, as well as YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
The video appears to have been shot using a helmet or body camera, and shows the gunman driving to the Al Noor Mosque before opening fire at people near the doorway. He then appears to walk indoors before shooting worshippers inside for several minutes. The gunman then leaves and gets back in his car before driving to the Linwood Mosque, some three miles away, where he opened fire again.
Police acknowledged Friday that graphic and distressing footage was circulating across the web, but urged the public not to disseminate it further. Facebook confirmed to INSIDER on Friday that it had deleted the apparent livestream from its platform and suspended the suspected shooter’s profile.
In live coverage of the attack as it unfolded on Friday, Sky News Australia showed clips of the shooter’s livestream footage that had spread across social media.
SKY New Zealand issued a statement about its decision to remove Sky News Australia from its platform:
“We stand in support of our fellow New Zealanders and are working with our colleagues at Sky News Australia to ensure coverage doesn’t compromise ongoing investigations in New Zealand. We made the decision on Friday with Sky News Australia to replace their live news with sport,” the statement reads.
INSIDER has reached out to Sky News Australia for comment.