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Serbian President Vučić slams Twitter over 'state-affiliated media' labels

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By Euronews with AP
Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic addresses the media during a news conference in Skopje, North Macedonia.
Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic addresses the media during a news conference in Skopje, North Macedonia.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski, file
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Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has hit out at Twitter after several media outlets under his control were labeled "state-affiliated".

Vučić said the move to label Serbian media organisations was nothing but "censorship" and challenged Twitter to shut down his own account on the platform.

"I can’t wait for them to close my account so I become another Trump in the world," Vučić said.

"Who should they cooperate with, tycoons, thieves, and criminals?," he asked on Tuesday. "It is most normal that they cooperate with the government."

In January, Twitter deleted the account of former US President Donald Trump for inciting violence related to the deadly insurrection of the Capitol building.

The social network has also moved to label state-affiliated media, which it defines as "outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution."

Twitter says they have placed labels on such accounts in the US, China, France, Russia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

More than ten well-known newspapers and TV stations in Serbia are now labeled on Twitter as "state-affiliated".

Twitter will not recommend or amplify state-affiliated media accounts or their Tweets to users, the company added.

Serbian State Television called Twitter's decision "political" and said it would stop posting material on the network in protest. Meanwhile, the tabloid Informer labeled Twitter "a war propaganda machine".

Serbia’s pro-government outlets, including the state TV, regularly criticise the remaining independent media in the country, claiming they are controlled by corrupt opposition figures or Western embassies.

Vučić, who has controlled much of Serbia's media landscape since he came to power 10 years ago, said those outlets affected were "spreading the freedom-loving ideas".