Australia drops legal battle against X over church stabbing footage News
Australia drops legal battle against X over church stabbing footage

Australia’s e-safety commissioner Julie Inman Grant announced in a press release Wednesday that Australia has dropped its legal battle against Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) to have graphic footage of a church stabbing in Sydney removed from the social media platform.

Grant stated “I have decided to discontinue the proceedings in the Federal Court against X Corp,” after numerous court proceedings and the temporary injunction to hide the video on the platform had expired. The commissioner described her decision as “likely to achieve the most positive outcome for the online safety of all Australians, especially children.”

The video of the incident, which took place on April 15, depicted a 16-year-old boy allegedly stabbing Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel as he gave a live-streamed sermon at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, Sydney. Grant questioned the ease with which minors could watch this graphic stabbing video on X and why it should be allowed to be distributed freely. 

X’s Global Government Affairs team celebrated the news, writing that they are “heartened to see that freedom of speech has prevailed.”

In the initial response to the video going viral in April, the e-safety commission demanded X globally withhold these posts or face a daily fine of $785,000 AUD. The Federal Court also granted an interim injunction requiring X Corp to conceal Class 1 content that was the subject of eSafety’s removal notice dated April 16, 2024. 

The Global Government Affairs team on X then stated their condolences for the tragic event, but claimed the videos did not violate X’s rules on violent speech and that “eSafety’s order was not within the scope of Australian law.”

After challenging the injunction in court in April, X did geoblock the content in Australia, which users were able to bypass using a VPN.

Despite having now dropped this legal pursuit, the e-safety commission has pledged to maintain the spectrum of authority provided in the Online Safety Act in order to safeguard Australians from significant online risk.