Australian and NZ 'government-funded media' threaten to leave Twitter

New warning labels provoke anger from journalists as media outlets protest changes.

Australian and NZ 'government-funded media' threaten to leave Twitter
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Radio NZ is threatening to close its Twitter accounts after the social media platform tagged it as “government-funded media”.

The broadcaster’s head of content, Megan Whelan, fired off a series of Tweets this week threatening to quit the platform if the tag was not removed.

“Twitter’s own policy defines government-funded media as cases where the government ‘may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content’, which does not apply to RNZ,” she said.

“Not only is our editorial independence protected by the law, we guard it vigorously.”

She said Radio NZ would consider its next move which included the option to “leave platform”.

Twitter’s decision to begin labelling government-funded media has provoked anger from broadcasters.

The BBC was the first media outlet to receive the tag. They argued vigorously that it was undeserved since, though funded by the government, they had always been independent.

American media organisations National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting Service quit using Twitter in protest at the labels.

In Australia the ABC hit back at the “government-funded media” label, insisting they were a “publicly-funded broadcaster” which had “for more than 90 years always been and remains an independent media organisation, free from political and commercial interests”.

Social media users were quick to point out that the public did not have a choice as to whether or not they funded the ABC and that to insist on a distinction between ‘publicly funded’ and ‘government funded’ was itself a form of propaganda.

In Canada, public broadcaster CBC announced it is suspending its use of Twitter following the social media platform's decision to label the outlet's main account as “government-funded media.”


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  • By Avi Yemini

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