CBC/Radio Canada is halting all social media activity across its Twitter accounts, after the platform slapped the broadcaster with a “government-funded media” label over the weekend.
“Twitter can be a powerful tool for our journalists to communicate with Canadians, but it undermines the accuracy and professionalism of the work they do to allow our independence to be falsely described in this way,” said CBC spokesperson Leon Mar. “Consequently, we will be pausing our activity on our corporate Twitter account and all CBC and Radio-Canada news-related accounts.” The announcement comes in light of Twitter’s latest house cleaning tactics to slap media organizations with certain designations.
Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre recently sent a letter to Twitter CEO Elon Musk requesting that he put a “government-funded” label on CBC accounts promoting “news-related” content. He applauded Twitter’s move on Sunday by tweeting that the broadcaster is “officially exposed” as “Trudeau propaganda, not news.”
Twitter classifies government-funded media as any outlet “where the government provides some or all of the outlet’s funding and may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content.” The CBC received $1.39 billion in government funding for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, and its financial statement for the 2021/2022 fiscal year shows it received $1.24 billion.
Mar, however, disputed Twitter’s label on Sunday, insisting that the federal government has no influence over CBC’s editorial content. “Twitter’s own policy defines government-funded media as cases where the government ‘may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content,’ which is clearly not the case with CBC/Radio-Canada,” he said. “CBC/Radio-Canada is publicly funded through a parliamentary appropriation that is voted upon by all Members of Parliament. Its editorial independence is protected in law in the Broadcasting Act.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also took issue with Musk’s labelling of the CBC’s twitter accounts, calling it a “disappointing” move by Poilievre to attack independent media organizations. “CBC/Radio Canada serves right across the country, delivers local news and local content in many regions of the country,” he said in defence. “By attacking this Canadian institution… really indicates the values and the approach Mr. Poilievre is putting forward.”
The Canadian Press, meanwhile, emailed Twitter requesting an explanation behind the labeling decision, receiving a poop emoji in response.
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