Thai news site attacked on social media for publishing Xinhua articles

By Wang Wenwen Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/21 11:53:40

With tensions over protests in Hong Kong still brewing, in the smokeless battlefield of social media such as Twitter, a Thai news site was attacked by Westerners because it ran "pro-government" articles from China's Xinhua News Agency on the Hong Kong protests. 

Teeranai Charuvastra, news chief at Bangkok-based news site Khaosod English, revealed to the Global Times that the site signed a content partnership and began to publish Xinhua's coverage about Hong Kong since August 16, because "we want to offer a different side of the story about Hong Kong protests to our readers, instead of only relying on Western media."

Charuvastra said that his news site publishes stories about Hong Kong protests from two sources - Associated Press and Xinhua, as they want readers to get both sides of the story and decide for themselves. 

On August 19, Khaosod English republished a Xinhua story about nearly 470,000 Hongkongers taking to the streets to oppose violence and call for peace. Since then, the site's Twitter account began receiving messages from Western journalists who said it is wrong to present China's perspective on what's happening in Hong Kong, Charuvastra told the Global Times

A Twitter account identified as James Buchanan addressed Khaosod English, writing "China seems to be making a coordinated effort to control the narrative in the English language press of its neighbours." 

The Global Times found that Buchanan is an alumnus of SOAS University of London and currently a senior research associate at the City University of Hong Kong.

Another Twitter user, Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a Scottish journalist and author, questioned why Khaosod English was "publishing blatantly untrue Chinese propaganda designed to undermine the democracy movement in Hong Kong."

Robert Scott, an ex-Reuters reporter, published several tweets on August 20, demanding the Thai news site tear up its cooperation agreement with Xinhua. 

"If you do not understand why this is not the right time to be republishing Chinese g'ment propaganda then you have joined ranks with autocrats and dictators. Shame," the ex-reporter wrote.

Charuvastra said he felt disappointed these Westerners reacted this way.

"It's definitely shocking to us, because we are only trying to do our job. If this is the mind-set of some people involved in journalism, then how truthful and objective is their coverage of the ongoing protests? I think it is a very alarming revelation," Charuvastra told the Global Times.

"If this is the mind-set of some people involved in journalism, then how truthful and objective is their coverage of the ongoing protests? I think it is a very alarming revelation."

 Charuvastra said that despite the "harassment and criticism," his news site will maintain its partnership with Xinhua and publish its stories.

"We will not bow to external pressures."

"Westerners always criticize Chinese people for being 'close-minded' and listening to only one side of the story, yet they are now attacking my news agency for trying to bring different sides of the story to the audience and asking them to be open-minded," Charuvastra said.

Newspaper headline: Thai news site attacked for supporting Xinhua

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