Anti-cnn.com (since 2009, April Media) is a website established by Rao Jin, who was a 23-year-old Chinese student at the time, in response to what he identified as "the lies and distortions of facts from the Western media" concerning the 2008 Tibetan unrest and the People's Republic of China's national unity. The anti-cnn site states its purpose as "collect, classify, and exhibit the misbehavior of Western media". According to the website, the phrase "anti-cnn" does not exclusively indicate its objection to the American company CNN, but also to many other Western media sources, including the BBC, Der Spiegel, La Repubblica, n-tv, Bild, Fox News Channel and RTL. The website also states, "We are not against the western media, but against the lies and fabricated stories in the media. We are not against the western people, but against the prejudice from the western society."
Claims and responses
Anti-cnn has claimed that Western media has frequently implied that it has been the Chinese police, and not rioters, who have killed people. Description of events during the 2008 Tibet incident were positioned alongside phrases such as 'Chinese crackdown', giving a false impression that the Chinese authorities, not the rioters, were the cause of the injuries and killings. According to Rao Jin, CNN and BBC only reported selectively, and grossly misrepresented the incident.
Rao was invited to attend an interview show by the China Central Television in the program of Oriental Horizon (东方时空). The title of the show was "Warning to CNN: why the Chinese Internet folks got angry" (正告CNN：中国网民为何愤怒). During the interview, Rao said that he had established the site "to expose the facts, to make the facts publicized to as many people as possible". The site now claims about 500,000 visits per day, 60% of which are from China.
A Washington Post report detailing Chinese reactions to Western coverage quoted Rao as saying that more than 1,000 people have e-mailed him, volunteering to spot distorted reports in Western media. A Chinese analyst said that protests may only push Chinese government to adopt a more hard-line position. The report ended with a comment from Michael Pettis, a professor of management, which said "as China becomes a world power, there is going to be a lot more scrutiny and criticism. Just as Americans have learned to deal with it, the Chinese are going to have to learn to deal with it. My hope is that after the anger there will be some reflection on the complexity of these issues."
Some of the media accused of making distorted reports have given replies. CNN made a formal response to the charges of the cropping of cover pictures and mismatching captions, but asserted that the selection of material was "appropriate for the editorial context, and will not cause any confusion". Der Spiegel mentioned the site in an editorial, where it referred to the argument over the credibility of Western media on this particular issue with the headline "the war over words". Der Spiegel however refused to respond to the charges made, implying that the site is part of "Chinese propaganda". They also blamed the Chinese government's media control policy, saying that it forces the media to turn to "hard to confirm" evidence and "increases the risk of making mistakes and errors", which in turn "makes it easier for the Chinese authorities to accuse them".
This site first received global attention in the PRC Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang's regular press conference on 27 March 2008 when he was asked to comment on the website. One journalist put forward a question whether the Chinese government had financed or supported the anti-cnn website. Qin Gang's response was that "It is the irresponsible and unethical reports that infuriated our people to voice voluntarily their condemnation and criticism."
Blocked by the Computer System of the United Nations
On April 10th, 2008, the Computer System of the United Nations blocks the access to Anti-cnn.com. People inside the UN who attempt to visit the website will receive a message from the "ICT Security Unit".
In 2009 Anti-cnn changed its name and has expanded into English under the name April Media.
- anti-cnn homepage
- Rebecca MacKinnon (31 January 2012). Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom. Basic Books. pp. 45–46. ISBN 978-0-465-02442-1. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
- (Chinese) 網民自發反擊外媒瞎報拉薩事件 www.takungpao.com 26 March 2008
- SBS Dateline, 6 Aug 2008  video link
- (Chinese) 东方时空 正告CNN：网民为什么愤怒？(Oriental Horizon Warning to CNN: Why Chinese netizens are angry.) news.xinhuanet.com, 1 April 2008
- Jill Drew, "Protests May Only Harden Chinese Line", Washington Post, March 24 2008. (p. A09)
- CNN statement on Tibet coverage CNN.com, 28 March 2008
- A War of Words over Tibet www.spiegel.de, 1 April 2008
- Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 27, 2008 www.fmprc.gov.cn, 27 March 2008
- UN Censors Internet In Its NY Headquarters, Blocking Media Critique and Non-Google Video Sites
- Sihai, Lei, "西方媒体向中国民意低头" , 国际在线-世界新闻报, April 02. 2008, Accessed April 08, 2008
- "Protests May Only Harden Chinese Line.", The Washington Post, March 24, 2008.
- "中国学生创建反CNN网站 做人不能太CNN成流行语" , 中国经济网, March 31, 2008. Accessed April 08, 2008
- Fang, Huang, "美华人华侨致CNN公开信'Don't be like CNN'" , Sohu.com, April 08, 2008. Accessed April 08, 2008
- FM spokesman: "Anti-CNN" website reflects Chinese people's condemnation Xinhua News Agency (China)
- Report: China seen sponsoring anti-CNN website World Tribune (United States)
- Chinese students launch anti-CNN website Special Broadcasting Service (Australia)
- FM spokesman: "Anti-CNN" website reflects Chinese people's condemnation Embassy of the PRC in the United States
- China: one country against the west ZEIT online