BY INES KAGUBARE
April 24, 2023
FILE – Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition on March 9, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Members of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on Monday asked Elon Musk on Twitter why he had stripped “government-funded” labels from accounts of state propaganda outlets affiliated with China.
“We are curious why @Twitter suddenly removed China state-funded media labels from organizations that exist to disseminate CCP propaganda?” the committee tweeted, mentioning names of some of those outlets, including China Xinhua News, Global Times, CGTN and China Daily.
The committee was created this year to focus on the influence and threats posed by China and develop plans to counter them.
This follows Twitter’s decision to remove “government-funded” labels after media organizations such as NPR and PBS protested against the labeling, calling it misleading, and decided to leave 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,” NPR CEO John Lansing said. “NPR stands for freedom of speech and holding the powerful accountable. It is unacceptable for Twitter to label us this way. A vigorous, vibrant free press is essential to the health of our democracy.”
Twitter had originally labeled NPR and other media organizations as “state-affiliated media,” a designation that was reserved only for state propaganda news outlets like Russia’s RT and Sputnik, as well as China’s Xinhua.
However, it seems Twitter has removed such labels even for state propaganda outlets.
NPR, PBS, and the British and Canadian national broadcasters haven’t been active on the social media platform since the labels were removed from each account.