Elon Musk, X vow to fight gov’t order to remove video showing stabbing of Assyrian priest


Elon Musk and his social media platform X have announced their intention to contest an Australian government order demanding the removal of a video depicting the stabbing of an Assyrian priest. The platform faces a daily fine of $500,000.

The eSafety Commissioner of Australia has ordered social media platforms X and Meta (Facebook’s parent company) to remove content depicting the attack on Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, a Christian Bishop in Sydney, according to NCA Newswire.

The video, initially livestreamed on the church’s social media channel, has circulated widely on social media, raising concerns among law enforcement and political leaders about its potential to incite further violence.

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

X’s Global Government Affairs team released a statement condemning the Australian eSafety Commissioner’s decision to issue a global takedown order, stating it violated the platform’s rules and Australian law.

The statement explained that the company complied with the initial order while seeking a legal challenge. However, X now faces a daily fine of 785,000 AUD (roughly 500,000 USD) for not complying with the commissioner’s new demand to withhold the video globally.

The incident that prompted the takedown order occurred Monday evening at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, a suburb of Sydney. According to a news report, a 15-year-old male allegedly attacked Bishop Emmanuel during a church service, stabbing him in the head and upper body. Three others, including Fr. Isaac Royel, were also injured while attempting to subdue the assailant. All victims received medical care and were taken to a hospital, with no one sustaining life-threatening injuries.

Following the attack, protests erupted outside the church, prompting a significant police response, including tactical police and armored vehicles.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb condemned the violence and called for social media platforms to do more to prevent the spread of harmful content. “I think leading a social media platform should bring with it big social, corporate responsibility,” the newswire quoted her as saying. “I think to have images like that online, they need to be removed immediately and not left up there.”

The eSafety Commission issued a notice of removal, citing the depiction of “gratuitous or offensive violence with a high degree of impact or detail.” However, X and Elon Musk argue that the order overreaches the jurisdiction of the eSafety Commissioner and goes against the principles of free speech and an open internet.

Musk stated in a post on X, “The Australian censorship commissar is demanding global content bans.” He further declared that the social media platform would “robustly challenge this unlawful and dangerous approach in court.”

The eSafety Commission, however, stressed the need to ensure Australians’ safety from violent content on social media platforms. Commissioner Julie Inman Grant expressed her disappointment with X’s response, claiming that not enough was being done to protect Australians from extreme and gratuitous violence online. She added that further regulatory action could be warranted against X.

X said it doesn't allow users to praise violent acts or call for further violence. It underscored the importance of a public conversation regarding events of significant public concern, as is often the case when a major incident occurs. X also stressed that it respects a country’s right to enforce its laws within its jurisdiction, but stated that global takedown orders threaten free speech and the fundamental principles of the internet.

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More Articles