Canada’s CBC says Twitter ‘not serious’ after ‘69% government-funded media’ label

by Jacob Fuller

Public broadcaster Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) on Tuesday pushed back against Twitter’s move to label it “69% government-funded media,” saying it had complete editorial independence.

The Elon Musk-owned social media platform had on Sunday stamped CBC with a label that said it was government-funded media, after placing similarly accurate notices for U.S. broadcasters NPR and PBS.

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

In an emailed statement, a CBC spokesperson said that Twitter’s response was not “serious.”

“The real issue is that Twitter’s definition of government-funded media means open to editorial interference by government. As the Editor-in-Chief of CBC News has said the government has no — zero — involvement in our editorial content or journalism,” the statement quoted Editor-in-Chief Brodie Fenlon as saying.

CBC received C$1.24 million ($926,064.23) in government funding in the 2022 financial year, compared with revenue from advertising, subscriptions, and other sources of C$651,000, according to its annual report.

Twitter defines its “government-funded media” label as “where the government provides some or all of the outlet’s funding and may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content.”

Twitter did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on CBC’s response.

CBC has paused its Twitter activities over the labeling, a spat that has also drawn in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Conservative rival Pierre Poilievre.

Copyright 2023 Thomson/Reuters