These media sources are moderately to strongly biased toward conservative causes through story selection and/or political affiliation. They may utilize strong loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes), publish misleading reports and omit reporting of information that may damage conservative causes. Some sources in this category may be untrustworthy. See all Right Bias sources.
- Overall, we rate AsianNews.it Right Biased based on story selection and editorial positions that usually favor conservative Catholic positions. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to poor sourcing of information, a lack of transparency with funding, and the promotion of Catholic propaganda and pseudoscience.
Factual Reporting: MIXED
World Press Freedom Rank: Italy 41/180
Asiannews.it is a missionary news agency of the Roman Catholic Church and the official news agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) which is based in Roma, Italy. Asiannews.it specializes in Asian affairs. The editor-in-chief of AsianNews is missionary and journalist, Father Bernardo Cervellera. AsianNews.it offers a Chinese edition and as of 2003 an English edition. On the English edition’s about page they state the purpose of the website is to “spread their faith” to the Chinese people due to the Chinese government “promoting atheism in schools and the mass media.”
Funded by / Ownership
AsianNews.it is published by the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), which is a “society of secular priests and laypeople who dedicate their lives to missionary activities.” Funding for AsianNews.it comes through donations to PIME. The website lacks transparency as it does not indicate funding or top donors.
Analysis / Bias
The primary purpose of this website is to promote Christianity (Catholicism) in China through biased news stories that favor the Catholic Church.
The ruling Communist Party of China practices state atheism with religious beliefs protected by their constitution. China allows state-registered religious organizations such as Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism to operate. These groups are allowed to “possess property, publish literature, train and approve clergy,” however their activities are tightly regulated by the government. For example, religious schooling is regulated, as is the reporting of donations in excess of 100,000 yuan (approx.$15,900), and there is a requirement to report religious events. The Chinese government’s standpoint is stated by President Xi Jinping as “active efforts must be made to incorporate religions into the country’s socialist society.” However, the tight control of religious organizations by the government is widely criticized by western publications as a “crackdown on religion”. Recently, China’s State Council published new regulations on religious affairs effective as of February 1, 2020, please see the unofficial translation of the law here. This new law has been criticized by AsianNews with this article “New administrative measures for religious groups: total submission to the Chinese Communist Party.”
In review, Asiannews.it publishes articles with strong emotionally loaded headlines critical of USA President Donald Trump, such as this article by Louis Raphael Sako (Archbishop of Baghdad): “Do not turn Iraq into a battlefield.” In another article, they are critical of the treatment of religious groups by the Chinese government such as “Kazakh Chinese who fled Xinjiang camp doesn’t want to go back to be tortured”. Further, they frequently promote pseudoscience in the form of unproven miracles such as this: My daughter, born by a miracle, will be a nun.
When it comes to sourcing, AsianNews utilizes their own agency and most links in news articles lead to other pages within their website. They also source through quotes such as in this article where they mention the source as “according to Christopher Rhodes, a lecturer at Boston University’s College of General Studies, in an article dated 13 February published in Unherd.” They then provide quotes, however, they don’t use hyperlinks where the reader can validate the credibility of the source. The original article from Unheard is properly sourced, therefore there isn’t a reason not to hyperlink to the original source of information.
Editorially, AsianNews promotes the right-leaning conservative positions of the Catholic Church such as anti-Abortion: Pope Francis: Abortion is never the answer. In general, the story selection and editorial opinions expressed align with the Right and promote Catholic propaganda to influence non-Christian people.
A factual search reveals they have not been fact-checked, however, they have published false information. For example, they have reported that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer: Iranian study reveals abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society the consensus of studies indicates that “induced abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk.” Further, another study Induced abortion and breast cancer an updated meta-analysis, from the peer-reviewed journal Medicine, also did not show a direct correlation between abortions and breast cancer.
Overall, we rate AsianNews.it Right Biased based on story selection and editorial positions that usually favor conservative Catholic positions. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to poor sourcing of information, a lack of transparency with funding, and the promotion of Catholic propaganda and pseudoscience. (M. Huitsing 01/06/2020) Updated (1/25/2021)