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Tuesday, Feb 07, 2023

George Galloway threatens to sue Twitter for flagging account as Kremlin-linked

George Galloway threatens to sue Twitter for flagging account as Kremlin-linked

Former MP says he will sue Twitter in next seven days for defamation unless it rescinds the label
George Galloway has threatened to sue Twitter after the social network labelled his account “Russian state-affiliated media”.

The former MP, whose radio programme The Mother of All Talk Shows was broadcast on the Russian state-owned Sputnik service as recently as last week, says he will sue Twitter in the next seven days for defamation unless it rescinds the label.

“I work for NO Russian media. I have 400,000 followers. I’m the leader of a British political party and spent nearly 30 years in the British parliament,” Galloway tweeted on Thursday.

On Saturday Galloway’s lawyers filed notice in Ireland, warning Twitter that legal action would commence. “Twitter have badly miscalculated here in assigning this dreadfully harmful designation to Mr Galloway’s account,” said the solicitor Kevin Winters, of KRW Law. “Whatever strategic political or other reasons were in play in making this decision has only served to galvanise his fight to protect his good name and reputation.

“His reasonable request to remove this offensive and damaging designation was ignored by Twitter. That’s simply unacceptable and inexcusable. Everyone knows George has robust political views and isn’t shy about expressing them but that doesn’t entitle Twitter or anyone else to demonise him in this way.”

The notice argues that Galloway is “well-renowned for his independence of thought and opinion” and that “he has never accepted or been subject to any control, editing, interference or other restrictions upon his right to freedom of expression, to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas.”

Twitter began labelling state-affiliated media in 2020, focusing initially on members of the UN security council – widely seen as an excuse to focus initially on Russian and Chinese state media. The policy immediately fell into controversy after the social network refused to label Voice of America, NPR or the BBC as such, arguing they were instead “state-financed media organisations with editorial independence”.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, however, Twitter has started to apply the label to individuals associated with state media organisations. In February, Rachel Blevins, the host of a show on RT’s American channel, complained about receiving the tag, arguing that “I am an individual journalist who does not speak for Russia or Russian media”.

Twitter has declined to comment.

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