What is labeled state-controlled media on Instagram?

Instagram defines state-controlled media as media outlets that Instagram has determined are partially or wholly under the editorial control of their government. We hold these accounts to a higher standard of transparency because they combine the influence of a media organization with the backing of a state.

Instagram identifies these organizations by using our definition and standards to review their ownership, governance, sources of funding, and processes that ensure editorial independence. As these organizations are identified, a label will appear in the About This Account section. Labels will be applied on a rolling basis to organizations globally when we determine that publishers meet our criteria, outlined below, which we use to determine partial or whole editorial control of their government.

Organizations that believe they are mislabeled can submit an appeal. This appeals form can only be viewed by the account owner.

Note: Public media organizations that are publicly financed, retain a public service mission, and can demonstrate independent editorial control are not considered state-controlled media and will not be labeled at this time.

How does Instagram determine editorial control?

Instagram proactively investigates factors that indicate editorial control by a government. These factors include:

  • Mission statement, mandate, and/or public reporting on how the organization defines and accomplishes its journalistic mission
  • Ownership structures (example: disclosure of ownership structures such as information on owners, stakeholders, board members, management, government appointees in leadership positions, disclosure on direct or indirect ownership by entities or individuals holding elected office)
  • Editorial guidelines (example: transparency around its sources of content, independence and diversity of sources)
  • Information about newsroom leadership and staff
  • Sources of funding and revenue
  • Governance and accountability mechanisms (example: internal accountability mechanisms, correctional policies, procedure for complaints, external assessments and oversight boards, rules governing their composition and appointment procedures)

Instagram also considers country-specific factors, including press freedom, and references open source data, such as research conducted by academics and leading experts.

Governments may exert editorial control over state-controlled media in a range of ways and to different degrees. If Instagram sees substantial evidence of editorial control, we will label the organization unless we determine there is sufficient evidence of protections in place to ensure editorial independence. An organization that is seeking to prove its independence should be able to demonstrate at least:

  • A statute in the host country that clearly protects the editorial independence of the organization
  • Established procedures, processes, and protections at the media organization that implement the statutory protection of editorial independence
  • An assessment by an independent, credible, external organization finding that the statute has in fact been complied with and established procedures have been followed

If Instagram determines there is sufficient evidence to satisfy these three factors we will not label the organization.

How did Instagram come up with its definitions of state-controlled media?

Instagram came up with its own definition and standards for state-controlled media organizations with input from more than 65 experts around the world specializing in media, governance, human rights and development.

Some of the experts Instagram consulted include:

  • Reporters Without Borders
  • Center for International Media Assistance
  • European Journalism Center
  • Oxford Internet Institute
  • Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) at the Central European University
  • The Council of Europe
  • Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)
  • African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME)
  • SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition
Was this information helpful?