Following the suspension of many journalists’ accounts who were covering the billionaire, the European Union (EU) on Friday issued a warning to Twitter owner Elon Musk that consequences could be forthcoming.
Vera Jourova, a European Commissioner, referred to the journalists’ “arbitrary” suspension as “worrying” and demanded that fundamental rights and media freedom be upheld.
Jourova wrote on Twitter, “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,”
“Elon Musk ought to be conscious of that. Red lines are present. sanctions are coming soon.”
On Thursday, the accounts of renowned journalists from prestigious media outlets who cover the billionaire or use Twitter were suspended by Musk’s recently acquired company.
According to the New York Times, the suspended accounts belong to political journalist Keith Olbermann, Ryan Mac of The New York Times, Drew Harwell of The Washington Post, Aaron Rupar, an independent journalist, Donie O’Sullivan of CNN, Matt Binder of Mashable, Tony Webster, an independent journalist, and Micah Lee of The Intercept.
The journalists’ accounts were shut down a day after Twitter shut down more than 25 accounts that were monitoring the flights of celebrities, billionaires, and government officials, including Elon Musk.
Although he claimed it posed a security issue, Mr. Musk had previously stated he would permit the account that followed his private plane to remain on Twitter.
He had tweeted at that point “My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk.”
Musk later altered his mind this week, claiming that a “crazy stalker” approached a car in which one of his boys was riding. Mr. Musk tweeted on Wednesday that accounts that published “real-time location info of anyone would be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. Links to websites that provide real-time location data are included in this.
According to the New York Times, some of the journalists whose accounts were suspended had tweeted or written about the accounts that tracked the private flights. Critics of Mr. Musk and his ownership of Twitter have also published articles. On the platform, several of them had tens of thousands of followers.
CNN responded to Musk’s action by saying, “The impetuous and unjustifiable suspension of several reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is troubling but not unexpected.
“Every Twitter user should be extremely concerned about Twitter’s rising volatility and unpredictability. We have contacted Twitter for an explanation, and based on their response, we will reassess our relationship.
“The Society of Professional Journalists, a group that also decried the suspension, expressed worry that several well-known journalists who were known to cover the platform and its owner @elonmusk had their accounts suspended by Twitter.
“All journalists will be impacted by Twitter’s action, which contradicts Musk’s pledge to protect free expression on the network. We’ll keep an eye on the issue and fight for free speech and journalism across the board.”