Australian court reverses block on X regarding church stabbing video

In a new legal development, an Australian court has lifted the order blocking X, marking a pivotal moment in the ongoing dispute.

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An Australian court has denied the cyber safety regulator’s attempt to extend an order for Elon Musk’s X to block videos depicting the stabbing of an Assyrian church bishop, labelled as a terrorist attack. The Federal Court judge, Geoffrey Kennett, rejected the bid to prolong the injunction, with reasons for the decision to be disclosed later.

The legal clash has fueled tensions between Musk and senior figures in Australia, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who criticised Musk as ‘an arrogant billionaire’ for resisting the video’s takedown. Musk responded by posting memes, condemning the regulatory order as censorship. While other platforms like Meta swiftly removed the content upon request, X has been persistent in its refusal to remove the posts globally, arguing against one country’s rules dictating internet content.

Last month, the Federal Court upheld the eSafety Commissioner’s order for X to remove 65 posts containing the violent footage of the bishop’s stabbing during a sermon in Sydney. The incident, for which a 16-year-old boy has been charged with a terrorism offence, prompted Australia to block local access to the posts. However, the regulator contested X’s proposal to geo-block Australians, claiming it was ineffective due to the widespread use of virtual private networks to conceal users’ locations.

In response to the rising concerns over social media influence, Albanese’s government has announced plans for a parliamentary inquiry to investigate the adverse effects of online platforms. The inquiry aims to address the control social media exerts over Australians’ online content consumption, highlighting a lack of oversight.