Elon Musk's recent decision to ban several prominent journalists from accessing his social media platform, Twitter, has sparked backlash in Europe. Germany has warned of the negative impact this move could have on media freedom, and a senior European Union (EU) official has stated that Twitter must comply with EU regulations or face potential sanctions.
The German Foreign Ministry posted a statement on Friday, saying, "Press freedom cannot be switched on and off on a whim," the ministry wrote on its official Twitter account. "The journalists below can no longer follow us, comment and criticise.
We have a problem with that, @Twitter." Melissa Fleming, the UN's under-secretary general, also commented on the situation, stating that "media freedom is not a toy. A free press is the cornerstone of democratic societies and a key tool in the fight against harmful disinformation."
There are red lines
Věra Jourová, the European Commission's vice president for values and transparency, said the "arbitrary suspension" of the journalist was "worrying" and indicated that the company could face sanctions as a result.
"News about arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying. EU's Digital Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights. This is reinforced under our Media Freedom Act," EU commissioner Vera Jourova posted on Twitter.
"Elon Musk should be aware of that. There are red lines. And sanctions, soon." As a reminder, on Thursday, Twitter suspended the accounts of several prominent journalists who recently wrote about the recent owner of this network and the second richest man in the world, Elon Musk.
Musk's decision to ban these journalists from his platform has raised concerns about the power and influence of social media companies and their ability to restrict freedom of expression. The EU has made it clear that it will not tolerate any attempts to undermine media freedom and will take necessary action to ensure compliance with its regulations.
It remains to be seen how this situation will be resolved, but it is clear that there is widespread concern about the impact of Musk's actions on the freedom of the press. The accounts of Times reporter Ryan Mack, Post reporter Drew Harwell, CNN reporter Donie O'Sullivan and Mashable reporter Matt Binder were suspended. The account of independent journalist Aaron Rupar, who follows American politics, has also been suspended.
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