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Musk Labels NPR, BBC, as ‘Government-Funded Media’ on Twitter

In Elon Musk’s latest Twitter antics, the CEO branded several media organizations, including NPR and BBC, as “government-funded media.” Musk, a frequent critic of liberal media outlets, initially labeled NPR as “state-affiliated media,” putting it on a par with the Russian propaganda network RT and China’s Xinhua News Agency. However, the media platform then changed the label to “government-funded media” following backlash from NPR and BBC. In a recent statement, NPR said the media company will officially quit Twitter altogether: “NPR will no longer post fresh content to its 52 official Twitter feeds, becoming the first major news organization to go silent on the social media platform.” In explaining its decision, NPR cited Twitter’s initial branding of the network as “state-affiliated media,” the same term it uses for propaganda outlets in Russia, China, and other autocratic countries. BBC also objects to Musk’s label and works with Twitter to resolve the issue. 

CNN: Twitter brands BBC a ‘government funded media’ organization

By Sophie Tanno; April 9. 2023

The BBC is seeking a swift resolution after Twitter branded it as “government funded media.”

Britain’s national broadcaster is predominantly funded by UK households via a license fee, which is also required to watch non-BBC channels or live services. This is supplemented by income from commercial operations.

The @BBC account – which has 2.2 million followers – is currently branded as government funded. The label has not been given to the BBC’s other accounts, including BBC News (World) and BBC Breaking News.

Twitter has not given a definition for what it considers “government funded media” to constitute.

In a statement provided to CNN, the BBC said: “We are speaking to Twitter to resolve this issue as soon as possible.

“The BBC is, and always has been, independent. We are funded by the British public through the licence fee.”

The BBC received the label after a similar one was given to America’s National Public Radio (NPR).

Twitter initially designated the US broadcaster as “state-affiliated media,” putting it on a par with Russian propaganda network RT and China’s Xinhua News Agency.

Following backlash from NPR – who said it would not tweet from the account while the label was in place – it was instead changed to “government funded media.”

NPR receives some funding from public institutions but the vast majority comes from sources such as corporate sponsorships and NPR membership fees.

Twitter defines state-affiliated media outlets as outlets “where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution.”

Photo: Twitter screenshot, the New York Post

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