Elon Musk makes crude joke after CBC pauses Twitter use over ‘government-funded media’ tag

CBC joins NPR and PBS in quitting Elon Musk’s social media platform over new labels

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 18 April 2023 14:06 BST
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Twitter owner Elon Musk made a crude joke at the expense of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Radio Canada after they announced a pausing on all Twitter usage after the platform tagged them as “government-funded media.”

Twitter added the tag to the broadcaster’s account on Sunday and CBC now follows similar action by National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States.

“Our journalism is impartial and independent. To suggest otherwise is untrue. That is why we are pausing our activities on (Twitter), “ CBC tweeted on Monday.

“Canadian Broadcasting Corp said they’re “less than 70% government-funded”, so we corrected the label,” Mr Musk wrote in a tweet.

NPR left Twitter after its account was tagged as “state-affiliated media,” saying that it had undermined its credibility by “falsely implying that we are not editorially independent.” PBS also left Twitter after it was given the “government-funded” tag.

“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.”

In a statement on Sunday night, Mr Mar said that the Canadian government does not influence CBC’s content or editorial judgement.

“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.”

CBC says that Twitter did not give them any notice of the change it was making.

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