RT, TASS and Sputnik were among the companies affected, with some personnel, including RT’s chief editor, also singled out.
In a tweet, the ministry mentioned Deutsche Welle, BBC World News and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), all of which are financially backed by their respective governments.
“We realize that labeling media accounts as ‘government affiliated’ is a tough job,” the Foreign Ministry said. “There are so many of them. While some Russian outlets have been given the tag, other state-owned media still do not enjoy the privilege. So here are some hints.”
The ministry posted screenshots showing that RT had been labeled on Twitter as “Russia state-affiliated media,” while the accounts of Deutsche Welle, BBC World News and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty did not have such a tag. Screenshots from the official websites of those media outlets, posted by the ministry, make it clear that they are funded by their states.
The level of state control over the organizations, and the transparency about it, varies. In the US, for instance, RFE/RL’s parent the United States Agency for Global Media is charter bound to “be consistent with the broad foreign policy objectives of the United States” and to “provide a surge capacity to support United States foreign policy objectives during crises abroad.”
Twitter announced on Thursday that it would add new labels to the accounts of government officials and ‘state-controlled’ media outlets. According to a Twitter blog post, new labels will be added to the “accounts of key government officials, including foreign ministers, institutional entities, ambassadors, official spokespeople, and key diplomatic leaders.”
“At this time, our focus is on senior officials and entities who are the official voice of the state abroad,” Twitter added. The new labels will also mark “accounts belonging to state-affiliated media entities, their editors-in-chief, and/or their senior staff.”
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