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BBC Responds To Receiving Twitter's 'Government Funded Media' Label

'The [Outlet] Is, And Always Has Been, Independent. We Are Funded By The British Public Through The License Fee'

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) responded to Twitter’s latest label referring to the outlet as “government funded media.”

Twitter employed the “government funded media” to outlets including the United Kingdom’s BBC and United States based National Public Radio (NPR). Originally the label read “government affiliated media,” though was later changed to more accurately represent the outlets received public funding.

The BBC released a statement following the outlet’s addition of “government funded media” label.

“The BBC is, and always has been, independent. We are funded by the British public through the license fee,” wrote the outlet in a statement to Twitter, per the BBC.

Musk responded to the outlet asking if the latest Twitter label was accurate.

“We are aiming for maximum transparency and accuracy. Linking to ownership and source of funds probably makes sense,” Musk responded. “I do think media organizations should be self-aware and not falsely claim the complete absence of bias. All organizations have bias, some obviously much more than others.”

Musk concluded noting, in his opinion, he personally followed the account and viewed the BBC “among the least biased” in the myriad of outlets receiving Twitter’s latest label.

Similar to the BBC, NPR receive funding from public institutions though also receives funding from corporate sponsorships and membership fees.

NPR’s chief executive John Lansing responded to their account’s previous “government-affiliated media” label, which has since been changed to “funded,” saying he was “disturbed” by the label.

“NPR stands for freedom of speech and holding the powerful accountable. It is unacceptable for Twitter to label us this way,” Lansing wrote in a statement.

The outlet released another formal response shortly after acknowledging they do in fact receive federal funding, though noted it was only a percentage of their budget.

“NPR operates independently of the U.S. government. And while federal money is important to the overall public media system, NPR gets less than 1% of its annual budget, on average, from federal sources,” NPR said. “NPR receives federal funds indirectly because they play a vital role in supporting member stations through annual grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But those stations also rely on audience donations and other revenue — and they purchase programs and content from across the public media ecosystem, not solely from NPR.”

The outlet further noted other publicly funded media outlets, including the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), had not received the “state-affiliated” label.

“As of Wednesday morning, Twitter had not applied the ‘state-affiliated’ label to other outlets that directly or indirectly receive any public funds, such as PBS,” NPR noted.

Twitter’s “government funded media” label links to Twitter’s information page on government and “state-affiliated” media accounts, noting the labels “provide additional context about accounts that are controlled by certain official representatives of governments, state-affiliated media entities and individuals associated with those entities.”

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