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US radio broadcaster NPR halts tweets in Twitter row – US News News – Report by AFR

US radio NPR upheld a freeze of activity on Twitter Friday as a report said Elon Musk was revisiting his decision to label the highly respected broadcaster as “state affiliated.”

Twitter earlier this week designated Washington-based National Public Radio as “state-affiliated media,” branding the venerable news outlet in the same way as government-owned Chinese and Russian platforms.

In its updated Twitter bio, NPR’s main account — which has more than 8.8 million followers — invited users to “find us every other place where you read the news.”

Other accounts run by NPR, such as its music and politics handles, did not have the “state-affiliated” specification and have continued to post tweets.

Musk’s move against NPR came just days after Twitter stripped The New York Times of its verified status on the platform, which like NPR, is often accused of left-leaning bias, particularly by US conservatives.

According to Twitter policy, the decisions will deamplify tweets from both companies, limiting their reach on a platform that remains a major communication tool for media outlets, celebrities and officials.

NPR CEO John Lansing said the decision by Twitter was “unacceptable” and the radio’s account has remained silent ever since.

“We stopped tweeting from the main @NPR account after they attached that false label to it because each tweet we publish would carry it,” NPR spokesperson Isabel Lara said.

The pause would last “until we hear back from Twitter on this,” she told the Nieman Journalism Lab.

Musk has for years expressed a deep disdain for the news media and in recent weeks installed an automatic response of a poop emoji to emails sent to the site’s main press address. 

But on Thursday, NPR said Musk had signaled in a series of emails that the relabeling may not have been “accurate” and that Twitter would look further into the matter.

“The operating principle at Twitter is simply fair and equal treatment, so if we label non-US accounts as government, then we should do the same for the US, but it sounds like that might not be accurate here,” Musk wrote to NPR.

According to NPR’s website, the bulk of its budget comes from fees paid by member stations throughout the United States, who are themselves supported by individual donors and government funds.

NPR, one of America’s most respected news outlets, told AFP less than one percent of its operational budget comes from federal sources.

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