But first, the action that has already been taken: Alistair Bunkall of Sky News has some examples, telling “Interesting: Twitter has now started labelling certain news organisations as state-affiliated-media. Here are examples from [Sputnik], [RT] and [CGTN]". Two from Russia and one from China. But does that limit the accounts' functionality?
As Bunkall explains, “It's not just a label, Twitter will also limit the accounts' functionality”. How so? “In the case of state-affiliated media entities, Twitter will not recommend or amplify accounts or their Tweets with these labels to people”. That means a loss of reach. But then comes the part which some UK media outlets might find worrying
And that’s the way Twitter defines the term “State-affiliated media”: “State-affiliated media is defined as outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution. Unlike independent media, state-affiliated media frequently use their news coverage as a means to advance a political agenda” [my emphasis].
That definition is what, right now, should be ringing alarm bells throughout the right-leaning part of the UK press. Because being subjected to “direct or indirect political pressure” - through the intervention of chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings and his pals - and using “their news coverage as a means to advance a political agenda” is exactly where many titles are at. Two examples from today’s front pages should suffice.
Consider today’s Daily Brexit, still called the Express, which has told readers “BORIS: ECONOMY SHOWING SIGNS OF STRENGTH … Covid-19 impact less severe than feared, says Bank of England”, alongside a photo of The Great Leader posing with a 10kg dumb-bell to show his great strength. It is the kind of display that would have made even the past editorial staff of Pravda and Isvestiya stop and think. It's pure propaganda.
Equally blatant state cheerleading has come from the Daily Mail, thundering “After up to 250 are caught making illegal Channel crossing in ONE day, Home Secretary’s dramatic intervention … PRITI: SEND IN NAVY TO TACKLE MIGRANT CRISIS … A ‘furious’ Priti Patel last night backed sending Royal Navy patrols into the English Channel after a record number of migrants reached Britain”. But she didn't actually send them.
If RT, Sputnik, CGTN or indeed any other similarly-aligned media actors came out with that blatantly partisan drivel, they’d soon have their “State-affiliated media” tag confirmed. Yet papers in the UK - including the supposedly quality titles (hello Times and Telegraph) - pump out this supposed “content” every day of the week and get away with it.
So come on Twitter, call out the UK’s state-affiliated media for what it is. Propaganda.
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