BREAKING: Australian eSafety commissioner drops case against Elon Musk’s X over footage of Sydney bishop being stabbed during service

"This case has raised important questions on how legal powers can be used to threaten global censorship of speech, and we are heartened to see that freedom of speech has prevailed.”

A legal battle to remove footage of a stabbing in a Sydney church from X has been suddenly dropped by Australia’s eSafety Commissioner.

According to The Nightly, Commissioner Julie Inman-Grant announced that the case in Federal Court would be dropped against Elon Musk's X after the prosecution was waylaid by multiple legal and the expiration of a temporary order to conceal the video.

Inman-Grant said, “After weighing multiple considerations, including litigation across multiple cases, I have considered this option likely to achieve the most positive outcome for the online safety of all Australians, especially children.”

She added, “Our sole goal and focus in issuing our removal notice was to prevent this extremely violent footage from going viral, potentially inciting further violence and inflicting more harm on the Australian community and I stand by my investigators and the decisions eSafety made.”

“Through this process, eSafety has also welcomed the opportunity to test its novel regulatory powers — set out under Australia’s Online Safety Act — to protect Australians from online harm,” she continued.

According to the outlet, the case was the “first-of-its-kind” to challenge the country’s ability to enforce online safety regulations with social media companies with ownership outside Australia.

Inman-Grant requested X to remove a video of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel being stabbed during a live-streamed sermon from the platform. After the company removed the video in Australia but refused to remove it globally, the Federal Government filed an injunction until the court could determine if X violated any laws. But the tech giant refused to comply with the court order arguing that the order violated the principle of free speech.

Justice Geoffrey Kennett ruled that the order was unreasonable.

On Wednesday, X celebrated the decision in a statement. “We welcome the news that the eSafety Commissioner is no longer pursuing legal action against X seeking the global removal of content that does not violate X’s rules. This case has raised important questions on how legal powers can be used to threaten global censorship of speech, and we are heartened to see that freedom of speech has prevailed.”

Inman-Grant said on Wednesday, “We now welcome the opportunity for a thorough and independent merits review of my decision to issue a removal notice to X Corp by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.”

Inman Grant previously accused X CEO Elon Musk of personal attacks against her over the case claiming that they led to doxxing and death threats after he called her the “censorship commissar.” She told ABC, “He issued a dog whistle to 181 million users around the globe, which resulted in death threats directed at me, which resulted in doxxing of my family members, including my three children, so I think with great power comes with great responsibility. Targeting a regulator who is here to protect the citizens of Australia is really beyond the pale, but it’s not surprising.”

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