Skip to main content

EU Warns Elon Musk Of Sanctions After Twitter Suspension Of Journalists’ Accounts

Elon Musk
December 16, 2022

European Commissioner Vera Jourova described the “arbitrary” suspension of the journalists as “worrying” and called for respect for media freedom and fundamental rights.

The European Union on Friday warned Twitter owner Elon Musk the company could face sanctions “soon” after it suspended the accounts of several journalists covering the billionaire.


European Commissioner Vera Jourova described the “arbitrary” suspension of the journalists as “worrying” and called for respect for media freedom and fundamental rights.


"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," Jourova posted on Twitter.

"Elon Musk should be aware of that. There are red lines. And sanctions, soon."

Musk’s newly acquired company, Twitter on Thursday suspended the accounts of prominent journalists from top media organisations covering the billionaire or Twitter.

The suspended accounts according to the New York Times include Ryan Mac of The New York Times; Drew Harwell of The Washington Post; an independent journalist, Aaron Rupar; Donie O’Sullivan of CNN; Matt Binder of Mashable; Tony Webster, an independent journalist; Micah Lee of The Intercept; and the political journalist Keith Olbermann.

The suspension of the journalists’ accounts came a day after Twitter suspended more than 25 accounts that tracked the planes of government agencies, billionaires and high-profile individuals, including that of Musk.

Last month, Mr. Musk had said he would allow the account that tracked his private plane to remain on Twitter, though he said it amounted to a security threat.


He had then tweeted saying, “My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk.”


However, this week, Musk changed his mind after he claimed a car in which one of his sons was travelling was accosted by a “crazy stalker.” On Wednesday, Mr. Musk tweeted that any account that posted “real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info.”


New York Times reports that some of the journalists whose accounts were suspended had written about the accounts that tracked the private planes or had tweeted about those accounts. Some have also written articles that have been critical of Mr. Musk and his ownership of Twitter. Many of them had tens of thousands of followers on the platform.


Reacting to the suspension of its journalist, CNN said Musk’s action has “The impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising.


“Twitter’s increasing instability and volatility should be of incredible concern for everyone who uses Twitter. We have asked Twitter for an explanation, and we will reevaluate our relationship based on that response.”


Also, a group known as Society of Professional Journalists, while also condemning the suspension said, "SPJ is concerned that @Twitter has suspended the accounts of several high-profile journalists known to cover the platform and its owner @elonmusk," SPJ National President @clairemariereg1 said.


"Twitter's action affects all journalists and goes against Musk's promise to uphold free speech on the platform. We will continue to monitor the situation and advocate for journalism and free speech on all platforms.”