CBC Demands Twitter Change its Label to ‘Publicly-Funded Media’

Global task force

Summary:

  • CBC/Radio-Canada, supported by the Global Task Force, demands Twitter change the “Government-funded Media” label to “Publicly-funded media.”
  • The ‘misleading’ label undermines the editorial independence and autonomy of CBC/Radio-Canada and other public broadcasters, including ABC, KBS, and RNZ.
  • Earlier this month, Twitter changed the BBC’s label to “Publicly-funded media” after facing objections, highlighting a similar issue.

CBC/Radio-Canada, backed by the Global Task Force for public media, is demanding that Twitter change its recently added “Government-funded Media” label to “Publicly-funded media,” saying the former is misleading.

Four major public broadcasters say Twitter added this label without consulting them: CBC/Radio-Canada, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), and Radio New Zealand (RNZ).

The editorial independence of these organizations, including CBC/Radio-Canada, is protected by law and enshrined in their respective policies, says the Global Task Force.

Twitter says government-funded media “may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content,” but these four national broadcasters say this is not true and they are editorially independent, “protected in law and enshrined in their editorial policies.”

The Task Force, which includes leaders from ABC, BBC, France Télévisions, ZDF, KBS, RNZ, and SVT, aims to promote and defend public media values essential to an informed and healthy democracy.

This issue follows a similar incident earlier this month when Twitter applied the “Government-funded Media” label to several BBC accounts. After facing objections from the public broadcaster, the label was changed to “Publicly-funded media.” BBC is also a member of the Global Task Force.

The Public Media Alliance, serving as the secretariat for the Global Task Force, emphasized the ongoing impact on public service media worldwide and implored Twitter’s management to reconsider their policy. The Alliance recommends using the more accurate and fitting “Publicly-funded media” label for ABC, CBC/Radio-Canada, KBS, and RNZ.

The CBC’s 2022 funding from taxpayers came in at $1.24 billion, while it earned $651 million in revenue, according to its financial statement. It ended up with a $92 million loss for the year.

As of Q3 ended December 31, 2022, part of its 2022-2023 fiscal year, the CBC received $320 million in government funding, up 6.7% compared to the year-ago quarter, up $20 million. Revenue of $142 million decreased 3.5% compared to the year-ago quarter.

Earlier this week, Twitter labeled the CBC as ‘Government-funded media’ and the broadcaster objected, then announced it was rage quitting Twitter temporarily in protest. Eventually, Twitter updated its label from 70% to “69% Government-funded media.”