Australia drops court case against X over violent posts

Henry

Australia’s online watchdog e-Safety dropped legal action on Wednesday to force Elon Musk’s social media platform X to remove posts showing the violent stabbing of a Sydney priest.

According to a statement, Australia’s online safety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, has decided to stop the proceedings in the federal court against X Corp.

Inman Grant demands that X remove approximately 65 video and audio clips of the stabbing, which took place during a live broadcast at a church on 15 April.

X, formerly known as Twitter, contested the commission’s right to impose a global ban and insisted that geo-blocking users in Australia was sufficient.

eSafety argued that X’s measures are easily circumvented with the use of virtual private networks (VPNs).

Inman Grant, a former Twitter employee, defended the decision to take legal action. “I stand by my investigators and the decisions made by eSafety.

“Our sole purpose and focus in imposing our takedown notice was to prevent this footage from spreading like wildfire on social media platforms because it could potentially incite further violence and thereby cause more damage to the Australian community,” says Inman Grant.

X’s international government affairs department welcomed the news in a post on its own platform.

“This case has raised important questions about how legal powers can be used to censor (freedom of) speech worldwide and we are encouraged to see that freedom of speech has prevailed,” the post said.

In a separate post, Musk declared: “Freedom of speech is worth fighting for.”

The center of the dispute is footage of the attack on the Assyrian bishop, Mar Mari Emmanuel, who was stabbed several times during a live sermon. The footage was later widely shared on platforms and led to an uprising among members of the church in western Sydney.

A 16-year-old boy is accused of the attack on the bishop.