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Germany warns on media freedom after Twitter halts reporter accounts

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Germany warns on media freedom after Twitter halts reporter accounts
The Twitter logo outside the company's HQ in San Francisco. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/AP | Jeff Chiu

Germany on Friday sounded the alarm over media freedom after Twitter suspended accounts of several journalists who had been writing critically about the company and its new owner Elon Musk.

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"Press freedom must not be switched on and off capriciously," the foreign ministry tweeted, with images of the suspended accounts of journalists "who can no longer follow, comment or criticise us either".

"We have a problem with that @Twitter," the ministry said.   

Twitter has lurched from one controversy to the next since Musk took control in late October.

The billionaire's talk of unfettered speech scared off major advertisers and caught the attention of regulators.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, unlike his predecessor Angela Merkel, is active on Twitter and he and his ministers routinely use the website to make key policy announcements.

READ ALSO: Police and Pegida: the scandal brewing over press freedom in Saxony

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Asked last week whether Scholz was considering leaving Twitter in the wake of Musk's takeover, his deputy spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann said he was tracking developments critically.

"Since the change of ownership at Twitter, we are watching very closely and with a certain amount of concern what is happening there and will draw our conclusions," she said.

Another Scholz spokesman, Wolfgang Büchner, tweeted on Friday that the suspension of journalist accounts was "unacceptable" and warned that he would leave the platform "if these developments continue".

He noted that he and the federal press office were also on competing social media platform Mastodon.

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