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Twitter slaps NPR with 'US state-affiliated media' label

The designation comes as NPR struggles to combat financial woes, with the firm announcing in late March that it would slash multiple podcasts and lay off roughly 100 staffers to help close a budget deficit.

Published: April 5, 2023 4:32pm

Twitter has applied a "US state-affiliated media" label to National Public Radio (NPR) to the platform's account.

The @NPR handle sports a yellow badge with a white checkmark indicating its status as an "official organization," but now includes the label immediately below the badge.

"State-affiliated media is defined 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," Twitter explains. "Accounts belonging to state-affiliated media entities, their editors-in-chief, and/or their prominent staff may be labeled."

"State-financed media organizations with editorial independence, like the BBC in the UK for example, are not defined as state-affiliated media for the purposes of this policy," the platform adds.

NPR disagreed with the categorization. CEO John Lansing issued a statement saying the company was "disturbed" by the label and that it "does not apply" to the platform. "NPR and our Member stations are supported by millions of listeners who depend on us for the independent, fact-based journalism we provide," the statement reads.

"NPR stands for freedom of speech & holding the powerful accountable. A vigorous, vibrant free press is essential to the health of our democracy," Lansing added.

NPR's website states that "Federal funding is essential to public radio's service to the American public and its continuation is critical for both stations and program producers, including NPR" [emphasis original].

The network receives annual grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a publicly funded non-profit created by the government.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk defended the label in a tweet, citing the platform's definition of "state-affiliated media," asserting that such a label "seems accurate."

The designation comes as NPR struggles to combat financial woes, with the firm announcing in late March that it would slash multiple podcasts and lay off roughly 100 staffers to help close a budget deficit.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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