(NEW YORK) – Twitter has inexplicably added a warning to NPR’s Twitter account, labeling the venerated news outlet as state sponsored media, on par with Russia Today and other mouthpieces for authoritarian regimes. No policy change or adjustment to the definition of which outlets qualify for the state-sponsored label was evident on Twitter’s website, and no explanation for the new label on NPR’s account was given. PEN America calls on Twitter to reverse course immediately and remove this label from NPR’s account.

“Twitter defines state-affiliated media as ‘outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution.’ That is unquestionably not NPR, which assiduously maintains editorial independence,” said Liz Woolery, PEN America’s digital policy lead. “NPR’s annual budget includes less than one percent in direct funding from the federal government and the U.S. government exercises no editorial control over NPR whatsoever. For Twitter to unilaterally label NPR as state-affiliated media, on par with Russia Today, is a dangerous move that could further undermine public confidence in reliable news sources. It’s a gift to disinformation purveyors and to authoritarian regimes the world over. Twitter should reverse course and remove this designation from NPR immediately.”

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Learn more at pen.org.

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057