The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Monday joined other public broadcasters in “pausing” its Twitter activity, after Twitter applied a “government-funded media” label to its accounts. The CBC wrote on their main account, “Our journalism is impartial and independent. To suggest otherwise is untrue. That is why we are pausing our activities on @Twitter.”
CBC spokesperson Leon Mar pointed out that Twitter’s policy defines government-funded media as outlets which “may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content,” which is not true in the CBC’s case. “CBC/Radio-Canada is publicly funded through a parliamentary appropriation that is voted upon by all Members of Parliament,” Mar stated. “Its editorial independence is protected in law in the Broadcasting Act.”
CBC becomes the latest public broadcaster to push back against Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s controversial initiative to brand so-called “state-affiliated accounts” with a label, beginning with US news organization NPR last week.
Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre recently requested that Musk label the CBC as “government-funded media,” claiming that “we must protect Canadians against disinformation and manipulation by state media” before labeling it as “Trudeau propaganda, not news.” As in the case of NPR, Musk mocked the CBC’s response on his social media platform, changing its label first to “70% Government-funded Media” to reflect the CBC’s assertion that it received less than 70% of its funding from the federal government. Musk then changed it again to read “69% government-funded media.”
Musk’s push to label independent public broadcasters as being government-affiliated comes as more and more organizations pull back from Twitter. As of November, 50 of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers had either announced or seemingly stopped advertising on the platform. Musk’s tenure has also been marked by rising hate speech on Twitter since his takeover, as well as concerns that his reforms have infringed on the public’s human right to freely impart and receive information.