Pacific Media Watch

21 August 2014

FIJI: Murder of four fishermen filmed, uploaded to YouTube

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A screenshot of the gruesome murder video on YouTube.

SYDNEY (Sydney Morning Herald / Pacific Media Watch): A horrific murder at sea has been filmed and uploaded to social media.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the slaying of four high seas fishing workers was recorded on a mobile phone which was then left in a taxi in Suva.

A Fijian university student picked up the phone and uploaded the gruesome footage to YouTube. Police are now investigating but, so far they have no leads.

The newspaper has traced a tuna fishing boat that was not involved, but was filmed sailing nearby. But so far, its registered owners have not responded to phone calls.

New Zealand-based marine lawyer Peter Dawson told the Sydney Morning Herald that the killings may have resulted from a war over increasingly limited tuna resources.

YouTube told the newspaper it wouldn't comment on an individual video, but since the newspaper's enquiry, had put an age restriction on the video.

"While YouTube's guidelines generally prohibit graphic or violent content, we make exceptions for material with clear documentary or news value," the YouTube spokesperson told the Sydney Morning Herald.

It is not clear how the video can be considered to fall into either a "news" or "documentary" category.

The video has now been uploaded by news corporations such as Sky News on their own websites - without an age restriction, at the time this article was published. And in a macabre twist, more than 100,000 people had watched the murders online, when this item was published.

Reactions on the YouTube comments section have been mixed. The reactions range from a myriad of xenophobic comments guessing at, and attacking, the nationalities of those in the video, to requests from mainstream journalists for more information, to people questioning the authenticity of the video.

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Pacific Media Watch

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