Does it make sense to take down violent video clips?

After two fatal stabbings, the drill rap group SK6 is being monitored closely by the police and the judiciary. The Mayor of The Hague, Jan van Zanen, hopes to prevent more violence by taking violent video clips offline. Robby Roks, Associate Professor of Criminology at Erasmus School of Law, expressed his doubts about the effectiveness of this approach to AD.

After being the scene of two fatal stabbing incidents, the Schipperskwartier, home of the drill rap group SK6, is closely monitored by the police and the judiciary. Mayor Van Zanen fears that drill rap videos could increase the pressure among youth to use violence. By taking violent drill rap videos offline, he hopes to reduce gun ownership and use and prevent new acts of violence. It is, therefore, being investigated whether these videos can be taken down more quickly. The Ministry of Justice and Security is also investigating whether they can create a hotline for violent videos.

Doubts about the plan

 Roks fully understands the mayors wish for decreased violence but has his doubts about the effectiveness of this approach: "Which content are you planning to take offline? Does that include general drill rap that refers to violence? I expect that people will create content faster than you can take it offline." These efforts to limit drill rap videos is not limited to the Netherlands, states Roks: "[In the United Kingdom], images are then shared through a live stream or reposted, if necessary, under a different username. Or they are shared via WhatsApp, Instagram or Telegram."

It can backfire

 The criminologist from Erasmus University Rotterdam even fears that the plan will backfire: "The danger is that a ban on certain clips can even have a status-enhancing effect. If you have a video that the mayor wants to ban, it can be perceived as extra 'hot.'" In addition, it is difficult to categorise the videos as punishable. "Many images are absolutely fine in a legal sense but can still come across as seriously provocative or insulting to people who are embedded in the street culture," according to Roks.

Associate professor
More information

Read the full AD article here (in Dutch).

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