Twitter has labelled several Serbian pro-regime media outlets as state-affiliated, including the country’s two public broadcasters – Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) and Radio and Television of Vojvodina (RTV).
The Twitter accounts of the RTS, the RTV, privately-owned TV stations Pink, Prva, B92 and Happy have been labelled state-affiliated as has the Tanjug news agency and the Kurir, Informer and Srpski Telegraf tabloids and Politika daily newspaper.
“Labels on state-affiliated accounts provide additional context about accounts that are controlled by certain official representatives of governments, state-affiliated media entities and individuals closely associated with those entities,” the Twitter guidelines say.
According to Twitter guidelines and policies on account labels, “State-affiliated media are outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution.
Accounts belonging to state-affiliated media entities, their editors-in-chief, and/or their senior staff may be labelled”. Twitter does not label as state-affiliated those media which are state-financed but have editorial independence such as the BBC.
Commenting on Twitter’s decision, Slobodan Georgijev, the Director of NewsMax Adria, said that Twitter „now see what we have been seeing for the last ten years – that these are not media outlets but rather propaganda outlets.” „It’s up to those media to prove they are not linked to Serbia’s Government,“ he added.
Media outlets from 22 countries, including Russia, China, France, Spain, Japan, the US and Honduras, have been labelled state-affiliated by Twitter.
This is not the first time Twitter has labelled media that closely collaborate with the current government, says the editor of the Fake News Tragač website, Stefan Janjić, and adds:
“To remind, Stanford University did a research that showed that Twitter systematically removed 8,500 bot accounts in Serbia that were in the service of the Serbian Progressive Party and had published some 43 million tweets.”
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