In one of the latest decisions made by Twitter under Elon Musk’s rein, as of Tuesday night, National Public Radio (NPR) has been labeled as state-affiliated media. Such a development questions Twitter’s motivations as it puts NPR in the same category with government controlled/funded propaganda outlets such as Russia Today or Xinhua News Agency, reports Newsweek, in its latest article, Elon Musk Labels NPR as State Media, Ignores Actual State Media.
Media and Journalism Research center director, Marius Dragomir, was quoted in the article as saying that “you can’t put on the same level state-controlled media with independent public media simply because in the latter you don’t have any form of state control. To label the latter as state-influenced, state-controlled or state-affiliated is quite misleading and dishonest.”
It is indeed an unexpected decision as our State Media Monitor project shows that NPR is anything but state controlled, being financed through a variety of sources that assure its financial and editorial independence. Financing sources range from corporate sponsorship to station dues, and account for more than 70% of NPR’s total budget. Editorial independence is also paramount at NPR where there is no evidence of government control over its editorial coverage. Specializing in news and cultural programming, NPR hosts under its umbrella more than 1,000 public radio stations across the United States. Furthermore, NPR periodically receives comments and feedback from the general public.
Newsweek remarks that labeling NPR as state affiliated media comes in disagreement with Twitter’s own guidelines, which state that “state-financed media organizations with editorial independence, like the BBC in the UK or NPR in the US for example, are not defined as state-affiliated media for the purposes of this policy.” Shortly after labeling, Twitter removed NPR from its policy.