Home » Court grants reprieve to Musk’s X in its fight against Australian govt

Court grants reprieve to Musk’s X in its fight against Australian govt

X, Twitter, Elon Musk (Photo: Bloomberg)

By Ben Westcott

Elon Musk and his social media website X Corp were granted a reprieve in their fight against the Australian government after the presiding judge refused to extend an order mandating the removal of footage from a stabbing attack in Sydney.

Justice Geoffrey Kennett announced on Monday that he wouldn’t be extending the interlocutory injunction which he originally imposed in April, ordering X to hide all recordings of the Sydney terrorist attack. Kennett did not give reasons for his decision in the initial order released by the Federal Court of Australia. Both sides are due to return to court on Wednesday for a case management hearing, ahead of further appearances later in the year.

X, formerly known as Twitter, has fashioned itself a platform for free speech and expression. Musk has said he would tolerate and defend all speech that is within the law. His opposition to Australia’s request to remove disturbing content has included describing the country’s eSafety commissioner as dictatorial and without jurisdiction to decide what X users can see globally.

The commissioner had ordered all social media websites to pull down videos of the attack, which took place in a Sydney church on April 15. However, while X agreed to hide all content from Australian viewers, it kept the material accessible to international users.

The incident provoked a furious clash between Musk and the Australian government, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. The tech entrepreneur accused Australia of trying to police the internet and censor free speech, while Albanese called Musk arrogant.

“He’s a billionaire over there in the United States who thinks he’s above Australian law,” Albanese said on April 23.

First Published: May 13 2024 | 8:42 AM IST