Twitter labels RNZ “Government funded media” upsetting the broadcaster, despite being government funded

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 17, 2023 |

Social media giant Twitter has labelled RNZ with a “Government funded media” label upsetting the state broadcaster.

Twitter said ‘labels on government accounts provide additional context for accounts heavily engaged in geopolitics and diplomacy.”

It said “Government-funded media is defined as outlets where the government provides some or all of the outlet’s funding and may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content. We may use external sources similar to this one in order to determine when this label is applied.”

Twitter has made a distinction between state-run media and Government funded media.

Twitter labelled China’s CCTV news network as “China state-affiliated media” recognising that its editorial content is controlled by China’s Government. RNZ’s content is not controlled by the Government of New Zealand.


RNZ’s Head of Content Megan Whelan said “RNZ’s editorial independence is enshrined in our charter and editorial policy.”

She said “Twitter’s own policy defines government-funded media as cases where the government “may have varying degrees of government involvement over editorial content”, which does not apply to RNZ.

“Not only is our editorial independence protected by the law, we guard it vigorously. Over the next few days, we will be considering our options.”

Whelan said RNZ would try and talk to Twitter “to have the label removed or revised, or as other public media around the world have done, leave the platform.”

Despite Whelan’s public protest, RNZ is Government funded with $48m a year from the public purse.

Last week, America’s NPR said it would no longer post fresh content to its 52 official Twitter feeds, becoming the first major news organisation to go silent on the social media platform.

In explaining its decision, NPR cited Twitter’s decision to first label the network “state-affiliated media,” the same term it uses for news outlets in Russia, China and other autocratic countries.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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