National Public Radio plans to shut down its official Twitter accounts, saying a recent decision by the platform to label it as “government-funded media” undermines its credibility. Being labeled as “government-funded media” or “state-affiliated media” is a warning often applied to media outlets controlled by authoritarian governments such as Russia, China, and Iran.
NPR said in a statement that Twitter was “falsely implying that we are not editorially independent ..We are not putting our journalism on platforms that have demonstrated an interest in undermining our credibility and the public’s understanding of our editorial independence.”
In a separate statement, NPR CEO John Lansing said, “Actions by Twitter or other social media companies to tarnish the independence of any public media institution are exceptionally harmful and set a dangerous precedent.” Lansing emailed NPR staff, saying, “It would be a disservice to the serious work you all do here to continue to share it on a platform that is associating the federal charter for public media with an abandoning of editorial independence or standards.”
The 52 official Twitter accounts associated with NPR will now fall silent as a result of the the company’s decision on Wednesday. On its website, NPR describes itself as “an independent, non-profit media organization” and says less than 1% of its budget comes from grants from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting and other federal agencies and departments.
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