Elon Musk sold several billion dollars of Tesla shares in 2022 to finance his purchase of Twitter
Elon Musk

The federal court on Monday refused to extend the temporary order asking social media platform X to remove the video footage showing Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel in Wakeley being stabbed during a sermon in April.

Justice Geoffrey Kennett on Monday denied the eSafety Commissioner's application to extend the existing order beyond 5pm on May 13, when it was due to expire, ABC News reported.

Following the knife attack on the bishop by a 16-year-old boy, the independent cyber regulator eSafety Commissioner had ordered the social video platforms to remove the video from their sites. X agreed to block the footage in Australia, but refused to remove it globally, saying that one country's law should not rule the internet.

Calling it a terrorist attack, the police has charged the teenager with terrorism.

In April, the federal court had upheld the commissioner's order asking X to take down 65 posts containing footage, saying it showed explicit violence.

Under the 2021 Online Safety Act, the commissioner has the power to demand the removal of so-called "class 1 material," under threat of significant fines. After X refused to comply with the order passed on April 22, the regulator had applied for a temporary injunction with the Federal Court to have the videos removed globally. The commissioner had argued that the video posed a "real risk" as it might be used to encourage people to commit terror attacks.

During the hearing on Friday, counsel for eSafety Commissioner, Tim Begbie, said if X's defiance led to a lapse of the court's orders, then "what that says about the authority of the court is pretty striking." He argued that non-compliance of the court order was contempt of court, which would have fetched lifetime imprisonment for individuals and fine for companies.

Begbie also argued, "This is not a free speech policy debate, this is about ... the Online Safety Act". X's owner, Elon Musk, had challenged the order on the grounds that it was an assault on free speech.

However, X's lawyer Bret Walker pointed out the company had not complied with the injunction because the Commissioner's initial take-down notice was not valid.

The case has been listed for a hearing on Wednesday, Reuters reported.