Press Release

Yaccarino Says Australia Went Too Far In Resolving Dispute 

X CEO Linda Yaccarino accused Australia of “overreach” over its decision to ban videos of a Sydney church stabbing. 

TakeAway Points:

  • The CEO of X, Linda Yaccarino, accused Australia of “overreach” when it decided to outlaw videos of a stabbing at a Sydney church during a speech onstage at the Viva Tech conference in Paris.
  • Elon Musk’s social networking site X received a respite last week in Australia when a judge decided not to extend a temporary order that was blocking the release of attack footage.
  • “The good news is that the people prevailed,” Yaccarino said. “We’re happy to be that beacon of light and that place for truth.”

Australia is accused of Overreach

In Australia, the social networking site X, owned by Elon Musk, was granted a reprieve last week when a judge declined to prolong a temporary injunction that was preventing footage of a stabbing at a Sydney church.

A sermon that was livestreamed and received hundreds of thousands of views on social media resulted in the stabbing of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel. After the attack, X was given a temporary court injunction directing him to remove posts containing video of the attack by Australia’s online watchdog, the eSafety Commissioner.

Yaccarino accused Australia of going too far in resolving the dispute during an onstage speech at the VivaTech conference in Paris.

“Where X operates to comply with the law, we are also not shy when we feel that there is a very obvious overreach, and where the citizens of that particular region are put at risk, or their access to information is compromised,” she said.

“What was recently going on in Australia, there was a need for X to stand up and protect people to make sure they maintained access to that information so they could make up their own minds,” she added.

According to the report, a federal court judge rejected the eSafety Commissioner’s request to prolong the injunction against the removal of posts on X that depicted the violent attack on a priest in April on May 13.

“The good news is that the people prevailed,” Yaccarino, the former global advertising chief at CNBC parent company NBCUniversal, said onstage. “We’re happy to be that beacon of light and that place for truth.”

Infringement on Freedom of Expression

An argument between Musk and the Australian government arose from the event. Musk denounced the action at the time as an infringement on free expression.

In an interview on April 23, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese criticised Musk for his “arrogance” and stated that he believes “he is beyond Australian law.”

He stated that Musk ought to “show some,” adding that “this is not about censorship,” but rather “decency.”

In response, Musk posted on X: “I do not think I’m above the law. Does the PM think he should have jurisdiction over all of Earth?”

The eSafety has previously said that it believes online safety “requires platforms to do everything practical and reasonable to minimize the harm it may cause to Australians.”

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