New Zealand radio threatens to quit Twitter over ‘government’ tag

Radio New Zealand says ‘government-funded’ label does not reflect broadcaster’s editorial independence.

The Twitter logo and Elon Musk's silhouette are seen in this illustration.
Twitter's rules for labelling publicly funded media outlets are generating controversy [File: Dado Ruvic/Reuters]]

New Zealand’s public radio broadcaster has threatened to leave Twitter following Elon Musk’s decision to label certain media accounts as “government-funded”.

Radio New Zealand’s head of content Megan Whelan said on Monday that the label, which Twitter uses to describe outlets that “may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content”, does not reflect the broadcaster’s editorial independence.

“Not only is our editorial independence protected by the law, we guard it vigorously,” Whelan said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“Over the next few days, we will be considering our options, including talking to Twitter to have the label removed or revised, or as other public media around the world have done, leave the platform.”

RNZ’s statement comes after publicly-funded National Public Radio and Public Broadcasting Service in the United States quit Twitter in protest against what they view as Musk’s efforts to undermine their legitimacy.

Twitter has in recent days added the “government-funded” label to publicly funded outlets, including the UK’s BBC, Canada’s CBC, Voice of America and Al Jazeera, after an earlier decision to apply a “state-affiliated media” tag to NPR drew a backlash.

Before Musk took control of Twitter last year, the “state-affiliated media” had been reserved for government mouthpieces such as China’s Xinhua and Russia’s RT.

Musk later suggested the NPR decision was a mistake, saying it “might not be accurate” to describe the broadcaster as state media.

Source: News Agencies