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JPR suspends Twitter activity due to false labeling of NPR

Earlier this week, NPR announced that it would stop publishing new content on Twitter after the social media platform labeled NPR “state-affiliated media” and then later amended that label to “government-funded media.” These designations are the same terms the platform uses to describe propaganda outlets in autocratic countries, like China and Russia, and imply a lack of independence and credibility of journalists working for these kinds of news outlets. Labeling NPR in this way is blatantly false, since NPR gets on average less than 1% of its funding directly from the federal government, and it is not an accurate way to characterize NPR as part of the American media landscape.

Although Twitter has not changed JPR’s account designation, we are choosing to follow NPR’s decision and pause using the platform to distribute our content. We believe Twitter's poorly considered, arbitrary and inaccurate labeling of NPR threatens to undermine our own credibility as a proud member of the NPR network and could begin to erode the trust we strive to earn every day through our fact-based journalism.

JPR remains committed to the highest standards of independent journalism as a central element of our mission, which is made possible by your support. JPR receives approximately 75% of its funding from listeners and businesses in the region we serve, which provides a broad-based and diverse revenue stream that enables us to do our work free from any outside influence.

We will continue to monitor this issue, and if circumstances change, we will reevaluate this decision. In the meantime, individual JPR journalists and staff members are free to continue using Twitter at their own discretion.

Paul Westhelle oversees management of JPR's service to the community.  He came to JPR in 1990 as Associate Director of Broadcasting for Marketing and Development after holding jobs in non-profit management and fundraising for a national health agency. He's a graduate of San Jose State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communications.