Court Rules Australia’s Internet Czar Has No Power to Block Content Overseas

The judge found that trying to continue to ban the spread of a video on X globally would have been overreach by local authorities.


The Federal Court has confirmed that Australia’s internet content regulator, eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant, does not have the power to block content overseas. The commissioner had sought an interim injunction against X Corp to stop the spread of an 11-second video showing the stabbing attack of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel at the Assyrian Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, western Sydney, which occurred on April 15. In his ruling, Justice Geoffrey Kennett pointed out that the eSafety order would “literally” have a “global effect on the operations of X Corp, including operations that have no real connection with Australia or Australia’s interests.

The interests of millions of people unconnected with the litigation would be affected.” Therefore, it was not a “reasonable” action for the commissioner to take, even if it were required of her by law. To extend the previous injunction would require “strong prospects of success, strong evidence of a real likelihood of harm if the order is not made, and good reason to think it would be effective,” he said.

“At least the first and the third of these circumstances seem to be largely absent.” He also noted “it is not in dispute that the stabbing video can currently be viewed on internet platforms other than X,” further casting doubt on the effectiveness of injuncting one platform and not others. While the likelihood of an injunction simply being ignored “is not in itself a reason why X Corp sho.