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FILE PHOTO: Aftermath of a knife attack at the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church, in Sydney
Police investigate at the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church after a knife attack took place during a service the night before, in Sydney, Australia, on April 16. Image: Reuters/Jaimi Joy
world

Australian PM calls X's fight against removal of church stabbing posts 'extraordinary'

33 Comments
By Renju Jose

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described as "extraordinary" on Monday a decision by social media platform X to challenge in court a cyber regulators' order for the removal of some posts about the stabbing of a bishop in Sydney.

Police have charged a 16-year-old with a terrorism offence in the attack on an Assyrian church bishop, Mar Mari Emmanuel, last Monday. Videos online showed the attacker, restrained by the congregation, shouting at the bishop for insulting Islam.

Albanese criticized the broadcast of violent images and said some social media content exacerbated the pain of many people.

"I find it extraordinary that X chose not to comply and are trying to argue their case," Albanese told a press conference, adding that X's response to the order by a government panel contrasted with that of other social media providers.

"This isn't about freedom of expression," Albanese said. "This is about the dangerous implications that can occur when things that are simply not true ... are replicated and weaponized in order to cause division."

In this case, the promotion of negative statements had the potential to inflame a very difficult situation, he added.

The Australian panel, known as the eSafety Commissioner, works to remove harmful online content. It had ordered X to remove certain posts that "publicly commented" on the attack.

But X responded that the posts did not violate its rules on violent speech, adding that the regulator had no authority to dictate content its users can see globally, an approach it vowed to challenge in court as being "unlawful and dangerous".

"The Australian censorship commissar is demanding global content bans!" entrepreneur Elon Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion in 2022 and renamed it as X last year, said in a post.

Several lawmakers have criticised social media for not doing enough to remove misinformation over the stabbing.

Last year the regulator said X had become Australia's top platform for online hate since Musk lifted bans on a reported 62,000 accounts.

© Thomson Reuters 2024.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

33 Comments
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Nice and rare photo. I've never seen such so far, is it Assyrian letters there and what is the transcription, translation and meaning?

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

At the heart of liberal democracy is a conundrum: what should the tolerant do about the intolerant? The intolerant are happy to exploit tolerance and will even push for "freedom of speech" to give them the pulpit to spread their hate and intolerance. But, if the intolerant ever get the upper hand in making rules for everyone, it is guaranteed they will soon dispense with freedom of speech. This would apply whether they were fascists, communists, religious zealots or plain anti-socials.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

Killing for religion's question and a lack of good education. Here are the two main problems.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"This isn't about freedom of expression," Albanese said. "This is about the dangerous implications that can occur when things that are simply not true ... are replicated and weaponized in order to cause division."

Well now he’s just talking common sense. No wonder St. Elon doesn’t understand.

One thing he will understand is a ban that hurts his already shaky bottom line.

If Twitter doesn’t want to follow the law in Australia, it can shut down its operations. Problem solved.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

Australian is a sovereign state. Why can't X respect that? They know what is best the country.

-9 ( +6 / -15 )

They know what is best the country.

The ALP and the Liberal-Nationals have done a pretty poor job at knowing what's best for the country, which is why it's in such a mess economically and socially. Their solution to dealing with information they don't like? Brand it as mis/disinformation and ban it.

That's proved to be a winning strategy in the past, and is guaranteed to produce a bright and happy future for all if we just comply.

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

Musk should have just focused on making cars, not being a negative catalyst towards other countries. Australian government officials want it removed so he should at least respect that.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

It’s not good publicity when law and order breaks down in a country but recent examples of this happening Australia are now just too commonplace…

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

kurisupisu Today  03:50 pm JST

It’s not good publicity when law and order breaks down in a country but recent examples of this happening Australia are now just too commonplace…

I was over there when it happened, and non-Aussies might not have any idea of the hand-wringing that went on by the left-wing governments and media trying to avoid mention of the assailant's religion and motivations, instead trying to smear the victim as an anti-vaxxer because he opposed lockdowns and mandatory jabs. In effect, they were almost endorsing the attacker! And then they have the hide to criticise X/Twitter. The mind is beyond boggling.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

In China when the government says shut this down or remove this content, X says "YES SIR". In Australia, X tries to ignore the government for as long as possible.

Hosting fake content is not a right in Australia, and if the government directs you to remove content in its country then that should be done immediately and if you wish to argue, put your high priced legal team to work in the courts to change it. Making another fake claim that Australia wants to control global content is baseless and false.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Musk seems to think he is above the law of the land. Both the Aussie government and the opposition are unified in their demands for Musk to take down the various violent videos and fake news he allows.

For days after the Bondi massacre, Twitter allowed their halfwit posters to post the name and photo of a completely innocent man, claiming he was the suspect.

Freedom of Speech should never mean the right to defame and destroy innocent people.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Hosting fake content is not a right in Australia, and if the government directs you to remove content in its country then that should be done immediately

You seem to misunderstand the controversy. The order demands that the content be removed entirely from X, not simply that it be made inaccessible to users in Australia. If every country were to follow Australia's lead and adopt similar laws allowing global content moderation, it would be impossible to post anything even remotely political/religious on Twitter/X.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Sven Asai,

Here are the alphabets, it's akin to the Arabic alphabet,

https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Aramaic_Language/Alphabet#:~:text=The%20Assyrian%20alphabet%2C%20or%20Syriac,written%20from%20right%20to%20left.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's called Freedom Of Expression, it's what keep all of us safe from all the Thugs, Tyrants, and Dictators.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Freedom of Speech should never mean the right to defame and destroy innocent people

If so, then nobody will ever be able to publicly criticize any individual or organisation for fear or a lawsuit.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I was over there when it happened, and non-Aussies might not have any idea of the hand-wringing that went on by the left-wing governments and media trying to avoid mention of the assailant's religion and motivations, instead trying to smear the victim as an anti-vaxxer because he opposed lockdowns and mandatory jabs. In effect, they were almost endorsing the attacker! 

Very revealing.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I can’t understand why Albanese objects to this being shown. Was it something the attacker said? Would it have been okay if he had said something else?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Hosting fake content is not a right in Australia

But it was a right when hosting fake content from the Australian government, media and big pharma during Covid.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

If so, then nobody will ever be able to publicly criticize any individual or organisation for fear or a lawsuit.

Hmmmm, those laws are already in force and people can and do still do exactly that without any trouble. People should be free to say what they like but definitely not be free of the consequences.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is pure politics, and if you nibble on the bait, you will be worse off for it. Politics diminishes your self awareness, blindly diving in will make you a political drone.

Teach your kids to be more self aware, and less political. The time to be more political is at election time.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The intolerant are happy to exploit tolerance and will even push for "freedom of speech" to give them the pulpit to spread their hate and intolerance. 

You have such little faith in your fellow man. Living in a liberal democracy we have to understand that freedom of speech is the best way to counter bad ideas. The liberal democracies of the west have survived the rise of both fascism and communism. The values of freedom and democracy are enough to counter bad ideologies

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Kudos to Japan Today. This is the first news article I have read that stated the motive of the attack.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Thanks a lot for the link, @WoodyLee. Yes, it obviously has many elements of Arabic writing, but I've never seen it before in a real place, outside of lexicons or Wikipedia etc.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

JboneInTheZone

The intolerant are happy to exploit tolerance and will even push for "freedom of speech" to give them the pulpit to spread their hate and intolerance. 

You have such little faith in your fellow man. Living in a liberal democracy we have to understand that freedom of speech is the best way to counter bad ideas.

True. But this isn't about free speech. This is about a platform, X, that is spreading hate and misinformation. X isn't a town square. It is an entertainment platform where comments are replicated and weaponized in order to cause division.

Elon likes to think of himself as a free speech warrior, and as soon as someone posts something critical of Elon, it disappears.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

True. But this isn't about free speech. This is about a platform, X, that is spreading hate and misinformation.

”X” isn’t spreading anything, the users on X are.

X isn't a town square. It is an entertainment platform

True, and as such speech rules are dictated by the platform itself. If the platform determines such speech is acceptable, then what’s the problem?

comments are replicated and weaponized in order to cause division.

And debunking these comments through open dialogue and debate will ultimately show how ridiculous their ideas are

Elon likes to think of himself as a free speech warrior, and as soon as someone posts something critical of Elon, it disappears.

Yes, it’s a private company and the owner of that company generally gets to set the rules for what can and can’t be said on it.

Could you clarify your position on this? You seem to take issue with the fact that X isn’t doing enough to erase some posts on the platform, but also seem to take offense when Elon deletes posts from the platform.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

JboneInTheZone

Yes, it’s a private company and the owner of that company generally gets to set the rules for what can and can’t be said on it.

Could you clarify your position on this? You seem to take issue with the fact that X isn’t doing enough to erase some posts on the platform,

For its own good X, needs moderation, which it does. However, it should also abide by the laws of the countries that it is operational in.

but also seem to take offense when Elon deletes posts from the platform.

No offence taken. I'm just highlighting his hypocrisy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well, take "child porn " or images of violent beheadings by ISIS ....didnt social media platforms at least try to stop these being shown.

Freedom of speech or freedom to watch deranged videos is not some God given clay tablet rule given to Moses and then on to Elon Musk.

Elon Musk says "the regulator has no power etc "

Well, at least in Australia he does.

Try convincing an Australian jury or Judge on the merits of Elon's ego versus keeping some semblance of social order.

Plus, let a hundred vlogers follow Musk's every move and post that on X and see if he goes "well, thats freedom of speech "

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You have such little faith in your fellow man

I cannot deny that, JBone. But I am still a liberal democratic humanist. Perverse, isn't it?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

But I am still a liberal democratic humanist.

Its a hard world out there for us

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Plus, let a hundred vlogers follow Musk's every move and post that on X and see if he goes "well, thats freedom of speech "

Stalking isn’t free speech

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

For its own good X, needs moderation, which it does. However, it should also abide by the laws of the countries that it is operational in.

Australia is free to ban X, but everyone knows they never would

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Try convincing an Australian jury or Judge on the merits of Elon's ego versus keeping some semblance of social order.

Sounds just like Chinese politburo.

In fact if a Twitter post could destabilize your social order then you had no order to begin with. Western society is collapsing and instead of confronting the liberal values that brought you killers and jihadist, blame Elon Musk. It's much easier.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

JboneInTheZone

For its own good X, needs moderation, which it does. However, it should also abide by the laws of the countries that it is operational in.

Australia is free to ban X, but everyone knows they never would

That's irrelevant. Australia aren't looking to ban X, they never were. They just want X to act responsibly and within the law.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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