eSafety Commissioner drops lawsuit against social media platform X in wake of violent attack on Christian bishop

Sydney, Australia – The social media platform founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk, now known as X, is celebrating a decision by the Australian eSafety commissioner to withdraw a lawsuit related to a violent attack on a Christian bishop earlier this year.

In April, Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel of the Assyrian Orthodox Church was conducting a live stream service at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, near Sydney when a young man attacked him and another clergyman. The assailant, a 16-year-old, was reportedly inspired by Islamic extremism due to Bishop Emmanuel’s previous critiques of the religion.

Despite sustaining injuries, Bishop Emmanuel forgave his attacker and urged him to embrace Christianity. The incident was captured on video and spread rapidly on social media, prompting the Australian eSafety Commissioner to demand its removal globally.

While some platforms complied with the request to censor the video, X refused to do so, citing concerns about freedom of speech and the principles of an open internet. The commissioner subsequently filed a lawsuit against X, but has now decided to drop the case.

The eSafety commissioner stated that her primary concern was preventing the violent footage from inciting further harm, expressing disappointment in X’s refusal to comply. She also suggested that Elon Musk’s comments on the issue had put her and her family in danger.

Elon Musk, on the other hand, reiterated his commitment to free speech, emphasizing its importance. X’s global leadership team welcomed the commissioner’s decision to drop the lawsuit, highlighting the broader implications for freedom of speech and global censorship.

In response to the lawsuit, X has filed a case in Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal seeking clarification on the classification of the video as “extreme violence material.” The tribunal is expected to hear the case in the coming months.

The incident has raised questions about the intersection of legal powers and online content moderation, underscoring the ongoing debate surrounding freedom of speech in the digital age. As the case unfolds, it serves as a reminder of the complex challenges posed by regulating online platforms.