Billionaire Elon Musk is facing heavy criticism after a Twitter policy stating "state-financed media organizations with editorial independence, like the BBC in the UK or NPR in the US for example, are not defined as state-affiliated media" was changed to remove its mention of National Public Radio (NPR).
The rationale behind Twitter's decision to label NPR as state-affiliated media is still unclear but Musk pointed to the company's definition of "state affiliated media" 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."
He later tweeted this definition and "Seems accurate" in response to a post from conservative columnist Benny Johnson.
NPR's President and CEO, John Lansing, later responded to the new label with a tweet statement that the media outlet "stands for freedom of speech [and] holding the powerful accountable."
A complete statement reads:
“We were disturbed to see last night that Twitter has labeled NPR as ‘state-affiliated media,’ a description that, per Twitter’s own guidelines, does not apply to NPR."
"NPR and our Member stations are supported by millions of listeners who depend on us for the independent, fact-based journalism we provide."
"NPR stands for freedom of speech and holding the powerful accountable. It is unacceptable for Twitter to label us this way.”
You can see his post below.
Many expressed their support for Lansing and NPR in response while others criticized Musk's move.
NPR receives government funding from federal agencies and departments, as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. However, NPR reported that this funding represents less than 1 percent of its annual operating budget.
Twitter's press office responded to a request for comment with an automated poop emoji.
In response to Twitter's labeling of NPR as "state-affiliated media," literary organization PEN America called for the social media platform to reverse its decision, emphasizing that NPR "maintains editorial independence."
Liz Woolery, who is the digital policy leader at PEN America, argued that Twitter's labeling of NPR was a "dangerous move" that could erode public trust in trustworthy news sources.