Christian Bishop Wants Video of His Stabbing to Remain Online

His evidence comes as Australian authorities attempt to force Elon Musk’s X to remove all videos of the stabbing incident from the platform.
Christian Bishop Wants Video of His Stabbing to Remain Online
An undated supplied image obtained on April 16, 2024 of Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel. (AAP Image/Supplied by Christ of Good Shepherd Church)
Daniel Y. Teng

The Assyrian Christian bishop who was attacked during a live-streamed sermon has said he does not want footage of the incident removed from the internet.

The video of the multiple stabbing attack, is at the heart of an ongoing war of words and a legal battle between Australian authorities and X owner Elon Musk.

On April 22, lawyers for the eSafety Commission applied to the Federal Court for an injunction to compel the social media platform to block all videos of the incident across IPs globally—a request, X says, extends far beyond the jurisdiction of local authorities.

On April 24, during a case management hearing, X representative, Marcus Hoyne, provided an affidavit from injured Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel who said the video should not be censored.

“There’s recently been an affidavit … from the bishop, the victim of the attack, stating that he’s strongly of the view that the material should be available,” Mr. Hoyne said.

Mr. Hoyne also said the attempts by Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant to implement a global ban on the spread of the video was “exorbitant.”

He further said the footage was now subject to the “Streisand effect”—the unintended consequence of attempting to hide, remove, or censor information—and instead, resulting in even more publicity.

Any move to remove the video would now be pointless because it had spread beyond the few dozen URLs initially identified by the eSafety commissioner.

The judge ordered the matter to be heard again on May 10 when X could supply more detailed arguments.

The attack occurred in the Western Sydney suburb of Wakeley with footage showing a 16-year-old walking up to the bishop during a live-streamed sermon, before the young man began repeatedly striking the church leader with a flick knife, which appeared to malfunction.

The incident occurred barely two days after a knife attack spree in the east of Sydney, at the sprawling Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, that resulted in six deaths.

Both incidents have spurred authorities to crackdown on “misinformation” and related videos on social media.

Daniel Y. Teng is based in Brisbane, Australia. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at [email protected].