Note on Khaosod English’s Partnership With Xinhua

Our recent news-sharing agreement with China’s Xinhua News Agency has attracted some questions from readers. We’d like to use this opportunity to clarify the issue.

Is it a paid partnership?

No. Neither Khaosod nor Xinhua receive payment from each other. Khaosod is not being paid by anyone to republish news content from Xinhua.

Do you know Xinhua is stated-owned?

Of course, and so does every reader.

Then why did you sign an agreement with them?

We want to deliver multiple angles about China to our Thai and foreign readers.

While it is true that Xinhua is state-owned, it often publishes news items related to China that are not available on Western media. This helps diversify our news coverage of China – a country that’s playing an increasingly big role in our region – at no cost.

Though readers are right to be critical of sponsored content and financial incentives, Khaosod stands to make no financial gains from the agreement. We re-publish news-pieces from Xinhua simply in the hopes that the people of the two countries can better understand each other.

Khaosod English is now publishing two wire services – the Associated Press (paid), and Xinhua (free) – simultaneously. For the sake of clarity, we indicate which wire service each news piece came from next to the dateline.

Isn’t re-publishing news from state-owned media brainwashing?

Whether or not readers agree with the so-called propaganda by the Chinese authorities, they can still have a glimpse into the Chinese state’s perspectives on current affairs.

We believe people should be exposed to different angles on the same issue, especially if it is a deeply complex one.

We trust in the ability of our readers to decide for themselves what to believe, and what not to believe. Better judgement is achieved through exposure to different points of view and the resulting synthesis, rather than reading news from only one source.

Is Xinhua in control of Khaosod English now?

We’d like to add that this partnership was being negotiated and hammered out many months ago, long before the current protests in Hong Kong flared up.

Since signing the agreement, Xinhua has never made any attempt to interfere with Khaosod’s internal operations. We continue to maintain complete independence over our editorial decisions. Our staff decide on our own which Xinhua-produced content to republish.

The notion that we are part of any coordinated information campaign by China is utterly false.

Why don’t you put up a disclaimer that “Khaosod English is not responsible for this content?” 

We trust our readers to understand that Khaosod English staff members could not possibly agree with every guest piece, wire service, and external piece published on the site. 

We publish a diverse range of content, and always clearly identify the authors of individual pieces. Any complaints can be filed directly to them. 

Even when Khaosod English published a particularly controversial view on race from a guest contributor, readers seemed to understand that the opinions expressed belonged to the author alone. We hope our readers will grant us the same understanding. 

Will you stop publishing content from Xinhua, now that there is criticism? 

No. Khaosod will continue to honor our agreement with Xinhua, and any change or termination will only come from the two parties. 

Throughout our six years of operations, Khaosod English has been the subject of countless intimidation efforts – from internet mobs to unspeakable institutions. We have always stood our ground and intend to continue doing the same.