Complaints we heard: Reader concerned about ‘bias’ in analytical article

The NNC reviewed a complaint about a feature article, “How Beijing’s Coverup Led to a Global Pandemic,” published in an April 2020 edition of the Epoch Times.

The complainant was concerned with the accuracy of statements in the article, in particular, with the premise, “Thus began the coverup by the Chinese Communist Party of one of the most deadly outbreaks in recent history.”

In reviewing the article in question, the NNC noted that it adhered to the journalistic conventions of investigative reporting and was consistent with a magazine feature providing in-depth analysis on a particular subject.

Widely-accepted journalistic practice encompasses analysis, in which a report contains a particular point of view supported by verifiable facts within the article. Analysis may be provided to give detail on widely-accepted issues, or to present material that is controversial, challenging, or new to wide attention.

In this case, the NNC found that the statement in question was supported by details contained within the article based on information from several sources, including reports by Chinese and international media as well as documents obtained by the Epoch Times.

Based on the information provided in the complaint, the NNC found no evidence of inaccuracy, and therefore no grounds for a breach of journalistic standards.

We understand that readers may have a different point of view on the matter and may look to other sources that support their perspective. This is the prerogative of readers. It is also the prerogative of journalists to select the sources they deem credible and to choose the focus of a piece.

Media freedom and freedom of expression means a variety of opinion and articles exploring facts and viewpoints will be published, including investigative or analytical articles written to present facts, views and context. A reader may accept or reject any of those points of view, but an article’s failure to change the reader’s mind does not in itself amount to a breach of journalistic standards.