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Censorship Battle Reaches New Heights in Land Down Under

Posted on Friday, May 3, 2024
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by Alan Jamison
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21 Comments
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AMAC EXCLUSIVE

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Leftist political leaders in Australia are using a recent tragedy to attempt to exert complete control over information sharing online – but free speech champion Elon Musk is standing in their way.

In late April, Musk became embroiled in a public spat with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese following Musk’s refusal to ban footage of an attack where an alleged extremist stabbed Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel during services at an Assyrian Orthodox Church in Sydney. While details about the attackers, all teenagers, are still scarce, media reports have indicated they ascribed to Islamic extremist ideology and planned the attack “for Allah.” They were also allegedly plotting to obtain firearms and attack Jewish people.

Video clips pulled from the livestream of the sermon showing the assault quickly went viral on social media, including X, which Musk purchased back in 2022.

The Australian government’s “e-Safety Commissioner,” a position created in 2019, then demanded that social media companies remove all footage of the attack from their servers – effectively censoring it worldwide. While Australian officials said Meta, Google, Microsoft, Snapchat, and TikTok complied with the order, Musk and X refused, although X did geo-block the footage from Australian users.

The Australian judicial system then got involved, with an Aussie court issuing an injunction against X and ordering the platform to censor videos of the attack worldwide, not just in Australia. X faces potential fines of more than $500,000 per day for noncompliance.

“If ANY country is allowed to censor content for ALL countries, which is what the Australian ‘eSafety Commissar’ is demanding, then what is to stop any country from controlling the entire Internet?” Musk wrote in a post on X. “We have already censored the content in question for Australia, pending legal appeal, and it is stored only on servers in the USA.”

“Does the PM think he should have jurisdiction over all of Earth?” Musk wrote in another post.

In response, Albanese lashed out at Musk in an interview with Sky News, calling the world’s third-richest person an “arrogant billionaire who thinks he is above the law” and has “chosen ego and showing violence over common sense.”

While mainstream media outlets have excitedly reported on the feud between Musk and Albanese, almost entirely lost in the coverage is the fact that the Australian government asserts that it has the right to hide from the Australian people the truth about what is happening in their own country. Rather than actually being concerned about “showing violence,” Albanese and his government are evidently far more worried that they might lose control over the narrative if people are allowed to share videos and information that the government does not want shared.

By standing up to Albanese and refusing to remove the content from X’s servers, Musk accomplished two important things. First, he forced the Australian government to answer tough questions about the danger from Islamic extremism – a topic they would rather ignore. Second, he forced the corporate media to continue covering a story they’d rather let die because it doesn’t fit their preferred narrative.

This incident is just the latest example of how Musk, the electric car pioneer and aerospace mogul, has become the world’s most prominent champion of free speech.

Just before the start of his drama with Albanese, Musk waded into another public dispute with the Brazilian government over its effort to censor and deplatform supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro.

In recent years, Alexandre de Moraes, the head of Brazil’s top elections court, began demanding social media companies take down hundreds of accounts questioning the integrity of Brazil’s elections, along with arresting users who posted content Moraes deemed “disinformation.”

X had initially complied with the requests, but on April 6 Musk announced he was “lifting all restrictions” and restoring the banned accounts. “This judge has applied massive fines, threatened to arrest our employees and cut off access to X in Brazil,” Musk said. “As a result, we will probably lose all revenue in Brazil and have to shut down our office there. But principles matter more than profit.”

Musk and X are also facing an investigation from the European Union after E.U. regulators accused the company of failing to do enough to counter “illicit content” and “disinformation.” Under the new “Digital Services Act,” The European Union has asserted the right to control any and all content online, and to fine companies that refuse to comply.

But instead of backing down, Musk has challenged the E.U. to explicitly list X’s supposed violations, rather than just make vague references to “disinformation” and “toxic materials.” So far, the E.U. has not responded to that request.

Liberal governments have never been more determined to control the spread of information online. But with leaders like Elon Musk committed to upholding the principles of free speech – most importantly protecting speech some may disagree with – there remains reason for optimism.

Alan Jamison is the pen name of a political writer with extensive experience writing for several notable politicians and news outlets.

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Max
Max
27 days ago

I love Australia, been there many times. Since the socialist type of government took power, things have gone downhill. Like our people, the Aussies have been asleep and have been losing their rights and their law enforcement follow nonsense government regulations, acting as the Gestapo of WWII Germany. One time while on a sea taxi in Sydney harbor, we were talking about then Pres. Obama and a group of young Aussies were eavesdropping and definitely did not like discussion of Obama’s policies that we did not like. These young Aussies had been definitely brainwashed by MSM about how great Obama was for the USA.
Needless to say, our country is on the same brink to lose all the has paid for in blood if we continue to follow the ways of the current leadership that is in power and leading us to socialism. WAKE UP TO REALITY BEFORE ITS TOO LATE.

WJS
WJS
27 days ago

Gosh this seems like everything out of the books 1984 and Atlas Shrugged. Thank goodness for Elon Musk who wants to fight for free speech and we still have our first amendment, but if our current administration would have anything to do with it they would eliminate the first amendment.

LauraC
LauraC
26 days ago

I’ve always been on the fence about Musk but lately he seems in the right side of history. You go, Elon!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
27 days ago

Saw seeds during Wuhan Covid plague then

John Bass
John Bass
26 days ago

I knew I liked Musk, Free speech matters. Thank God for people like Elon who still have principles and are willing to buck the system.

Cher
Cher
26 days ago

I have nothing in common with Musk, EXCEPT that he is a staunch supporter of the RIGHT to FREE SPEECH, and INFORMATION!!! and I THANK GOD FOR HIM for standing up to support FREEDOM, just like William Wallace of old! But what it says to me is this: How many OTHERS is the being done to every day, who CAN’T AFFORD to pay that kind of ‘Fine’ for Standing Up to their Govt.??? I think it’s HIGHER than we will ever know – because they can’t say anything…

Bob Chase
Bob Chase
26 days ago

Albanese never answered the question of censoring the world content. Any government, including our own, that tries to control the internet for views opposing their official position is operating as Nazi and communist governments do. Media should inspire thinking and comparing opposing views in a respectful manner. These politicians clearly believe the opposite as evidenced by the censoring of news of actual events. Our own government has been caught demanding the same censoring.

Granny
Granny
26 days ago

I pray Musk keeps strong and powerful, as he seems fair to all. They want to censor those they fear. From Donald Trump to Elon Musk to Christian Pastors to citizenry. We the common citizenry are being protected by these powerful outspoken people and should be very thankful.

Michael
Michael
22 days ago

Invest on Tesla

Pass hard
Pass hard
25 days ago

this guy is like his cars. Big expensive and totally unreliable in terms of safety lol

Tim Toroian
Tim Toroian
26 days ago

If it was me I’d pull out of the country and post the reason why every day forever.

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