OTTAWA (Reuters) – Public broadcaster Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s (CBC) Twitter account was on Monday labeled as “69% Government-funded Media” by the social media website.
The Twitter label on the CBC site previously showed “70% Government-funded Media”, but Twitter owner Elon Musk said the “Canadian Broadcasting Corp said they’re “less than 70% government-funded”, so we corrected the label”.
CBC announced that it would pause Twitter activity over the labeling. This spat has drawn both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and his Conservative opponent Pierre Poilievre into the fray.
The Canadian public broadcaster’s Twitter handle “@CBC” was labeled as “69% Government-funded Media”, CBC’s twitter account showed.
Twitter’s help center page does not yet explain what this new label means. Reuters’ request for comment was not immediately responded to by CBC.
On Sunday, some CBC Twitter feeds started carrying the label “government-funded Media”. CBC replied that it is not government funded, but is “publicly funded through a parliamentary appropriation that is voted upon by all Members of Parliament.”
“Our journalism is impartial and independent. It is false to suggest otherwise. That is why we are pausing our activities on @Twitter,” the CBC said on Monday.
The broadcaster said that advertising also helps to cover their costs across all of its platforms.
Earlier on Monday Trudeau accused Poilievre of enlisting U.S. billionaires to attack Canada’s public broadcaster, after Poilievre prodded Musk to label the CBC “government-funded.”
Poilievre said on Twitter last week that he had written to Musk to request that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation be labeled “accurately”.
Poilievre, who took over the party last year and is campaigning to defund the CBC, celebrated the decision, saying on Twitter that “now people know that it is Trudeau propaganda, not news”.
Speaking to reporters, Trudeau said: “Attacking this Canadian institution, attacking the culture and local content that is so important to so many Canadians, really indicates the values and the approach that Mr. Poilievre is putting forward.
“In order to attack this institution that is important for many, many Canadians, he runs to American billionaires, the tech giants that they continue to defend.”
Trudeau’s minority government is supported by the left-leaning New Democrats and an election is not officially due until 2025.
National Public Radio in the United States announced last week it will not post content on any of its 52 Twitter feeds. This is in protest to a label that was placed by Twitter, which implies a government-sponsored content.
(Reporting and editing by Peter Graff and Sandra Maler; Mrinmay Dey, in Bengaluru, and Steve Scherer, in Ottawa)
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