5 English Foreign Newspapers That You Should Read

Guy McDowell 23-04-2009

Before the flaming starts, let me qualify that headline – I mean ‘foreign’ as in ‘foreign to me’. Yes, the web is worldwide and you may be reading from one of the countries that I reference. That’s cool. Welcome.


The goal of this article is driven by the axiom that when there are two opposing views on something, the truth usually lays somewhere in the middle. Everyday, North Americans are bombarded by news that seems, to me, very biased and ethnocentric. America this, Canada that, come vacation in Mexico with the drug lords. We barely even hear about what’s going on in Europe, let alone the further corners of the world. So I put my Canadian flag on my data packets and went hitch-hiking through the world unseen through their newspapers. Enter my favorite english foreign newspapers.

Islamic Republic News Agency

english-foreign-newspapers Islamic Republic News Agency – All that my local news tells me about Iran is that we may, or may not, be enemies with them. I don’t understand. Yet, at the time I wrote this, IRNA tells me that the U.S. is making concessions with Cuba for telecommunications companies and Cuban-American families can visit and send money to Cuba as often as they like. Where was that on Fox news?

China Daily

5 English Foreign Newspapers That You Should Read chinadaily logo120x40China Daily – With the US Navy engaging the Somali pirates, you’d think they were the sole protectors of freedom, to hear it from mainstream US media. Don’t get me wrong, the U.S. has done some good things internationally. Yet I haven’t seen any coverage of the Chinese sending naval vessels as escorts around Africa’s pirate-laden waters. Not just a couple ships, but a couple fleets! That’s pretty cool of them, I think.


5 English Foreign Newspapers That You Should Read russia today logo Russia Today – Although a little less wordy than some papers, Russia Today does present articles and video’s about North America that you don’t normally hear about. Apparently there were a bunch of tax protests, or T.E.A. parties (Taxed Enough Already) to protest President Obama’s tax policies. Did you hear about these? Me neither.


5 English Foreign Newspapers That You Should Read ajilogoAljazeera – published from Qatar, a country on a peninsula jutting into the Persian Gulf, tells about how the main water supply for two million Mexicans was shut down, due to drought. Did you know that? I knew there was drug and immigration problems between Mexico and the US, but not that the Mexicans had little water.  Or how about Leon Panetta, director of the CIA announcing they will close down their secret overseas prisons. Mighty good of them, I didn’t know they had any. I also didn’t know that private contractors handled a lot of the interrogations of prisoners in these places. How do you put that on your resume?

Granma Internacional


5 English Foreign Newspapers That You Should Read granma logoGranma Internacional – Cuba’s foreign language paper opened my eyes to the fact that the U.S. is currently where Luis Posada Carriles and former President Carlos Andrés Pérez, who was responsible for the Caracazo massacre, make their homes. Apparently Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has been requesting their deportation from President Obama, without any luck.  Venezuela seems to thinking these guys are terrorists and would like to deal with them. So much for the U.S. war on terror.

Are all those stories 100% of the truth? Probably not, yet there is truth in them. Take them in context with what you hear on your local news and you get an eye opener about what’s really going on in the world. I know I did.

What alternative news sources do you use? Did we miss any good foreign newspapers that are published in english? Do you think all news is biased? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. hermy
    May 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Indian Express is much more credible than Times of India

    • Guy
      May 13, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      Hi Hermy,

      Thank you. That's good to know. It's hard to gauge credibility from outside of the country, so your insight is good to have.

      • mahesh
        November 18, 2015 at 3:11 pm

        Any other newspaper is better than TOI. The Hindu is another great paper. Non Populist and serious journalism. Just like BBC, does not post News right away: instead a bit delayed but with credible Research and Quality text.

        • Guy McDowell
          November 19, 2015 at 8:02 pm

          Hi Mahesh,

          Thank you for adding that. Very good to know about The Hindu

  2. siavash
    October 9, 2009 at 5:07 am

    thanks so much for your web site i am iranian and i want to speak more about iran

  3. Dash
    May 10, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Good article, I would like to point out that there is no 100% non biased news but rather we should listen to all the information we can get and make our own just conclusions. I hope I did not insult anyone.

  4. Suresh
    April 27, 2009 at 1:16 am (Times of India) is the largest selling news paper in the whole world. I am surprised that it didn't make to your list.
    Be it the local news, International news or even crazy news round the world, it is doing a great job.

    • Guy McDowell
      April 27, 2009 at 4:23 pm

      Yes, I agree, it should have made my list since India is having a major impact on the world again. And oddly enough, North Americans seem to know very little about India.

  5. fadi
    April 26, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    in addition to the aljazeera, three influential and good news sources that should be on everyone's list are:
    the Guardian
    the Independant
    and Alternet>/a>

  6. Juan Carlo
    April 24, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Dude, I applaud the fact that you are looking outside of the US for news, but I have to say that yes, a lot of these are not quite independent media. GRANMA, for instance, is anything BUT independent. Speaking as a Venezuelan journalist, calling Carlos Andres Perez a terrorist and "responsible for the Caracazo massacre" is grossly misleading --yes, the Caracazo happened during his government, and yes, it was because many of his policies-- but all of the confirmed deaths cannot be attributed to the National Guard or the army, but by looters and vandals (I very much rememebered the events). And whatever Chavez says, GRANMA does. As for Posada Carriles, yes, he should be judged and harshly for what he did (here's the story:, but he's a Cuban citizen -- Venezuela is trying to continue being on the Castro good side.

    That being said, again, it is very important to check other websites for a different point of view, since they will always tell you something country-specific, rather than American-specific. I truly applaud you for recommending these, especially as a foreigner.

    • Guy McDowell
      April 25, 2009 at 12:10 am

      Thank you very much. I agree that not everything one reads is the truth. That's the point of the article really, is to try to read the news from a local source and a foreign source and you're likely to get more of the whole picture. Of course, few people really have the time to do that. I also try to listen to podcasts from non-mainstream news sources as well. Satirist's like Stephen Colbert and Canada's awesome Rick Mercer actually can bring different and valid views on the news as well.

  7. Nakodari
    April 24, 2009 at 3:15 am

    For up-to-date news on Pakistan,

  8. setec.astronomi
    April 24, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Russia Today? Having been to the RT headquarters in Moscow, I can tell you that they like to drink the kool aid. All I found were a bunch of calculating, stepford kids (all under the age of 30) running the show. In their own creepy way they made it clear that America was their enemy.

    • Guy McDowell
      April 25, 2009 at 12:14 am

      Sounds like any of the .com era startups! But seriously, almost every paper has an agenda, beyond making money whether it is stated or not. At least that's the impression I get.

      I find it ironic that RT would be anti-American when their publication most closely resembles USA Today in style and content. RT also covers a lot of stuff that isn't really news - more like yellow journalism. But still, something can be learned from that.

  9. Wade
    April 24, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Greetings from one of the furthest corners, your avid reader in OZ.

  10. Guy McDowell
    April 23, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    The truly unfortunate thing about news is that no news outlet with large distributorship has real freedom of the press. They are all beholden, to varying degrees, to their readership, advertisers and various levels of government. Significant pressure from any of these sources can shut a story, or a news company, down. It is a business after all.

    Here in Alberta there's a fellow named Ezra Levant. He did a news article on the political cartoon about a Muslim that appeared in a Dutch newspaper. Just for reporting on it, and reprinting the cartoon, Ezra was dragged in by Alberta's Human Rights Commission. Although he won, he lost his news magazine, the Western Standard. Search YouTube for Ezra Levant for an eye-opener on the state of free speech in Canada - supposedly one of the most progressive countries in the world.

  11. Pranshu
    April 24, 2009 at 1:19 am

    And the Times of India - [Broken URL Removed]

    • Guy McDowell
      April 25, 2009 at 12:15 am

      I think India is at a fascinating point in it's history. There's a country one could study for eternity and never fully grasp. Very interesting.

    • Mahesh Kumar
      November 23, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Come on Brother. TOI is very much like a tabloid. Populist, sensationalist and low quality text. "Indian express" and "The Hindu" are far better both in terms of quality of news and Language. Even "Hindustan times" fares better than TOI. TOI may be most read but it lacks quality.

  12. marek
    April 23, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Kevin, this isn't a political website and I'm not going to start a politcal debate, but just to be factual: Voice of America is US government propaganda. This isn't my opinion - it's the law. VoA is prohibited from broadcasting within the US, exactly because the the US law doesn't allow the government to brodacast propaganda to its own citizens. Whether this means VoA should be a recommended newssource constitutes an opinion, so I'll withhold it :)

  13. Mark
    April 23, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    There are lots of international news sites (Le Monde, BBC, Germany, etc.) All very good. With respect, I would not have picked any of the sites you listed above, which all lack freedom of the press.

  14. Chad
    April 23, 2009 at 12:44 pm


    Not to sound insulting but everything you've mentioned that you feel you learned only on these sites has all been in the regular mainstream news and websites. No revelations there. However news sites in other countries can be valuable for learning about issues going on in those places that might not be big enough news to make international headlines.

    • Guy McDowell
      April 23, 2009 at 8:49 pm

      Hey Chad,

      Not insulted at all! I'm in Canada, so maybe it's the Canadian news not covering it so well. I also wrote the article in the middle of last week. Of course - after I submitted it, I heard a lot of the news stories on the radio as well. But I did read it first on these other sites.

  15. Kevin Reynolds
    April 23, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Three, right off the top: BBC (puts out real news) Deutsche Welle (also respected) and not least the VOA (Voice of America). The VOA is also very respected. They stick to their charter. Dig it:

    To protect the integrity of VOA programming and define the organization's mission, the VOA Charter was drafted in 1960 and later signed into law on July 12, 1976, by President Gerald Ford. It reads:

    The long-range interests of the United States are served by communicating directly with the peoples of the world by radio. To be effective, the Voice of America must win the attention and respect of listeners. These principles will therefore govern Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts:

    1. VOA will serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news. VOA news will be accurate, objective, and comprehensive.

    2. VOA will represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.

    3. VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.
    (Public Law 94-350)

    For more information on the Charter, visit our VOA history page about the 1960s and 1970s.

  16. robert
    April 23, 2009 at 11:33 am

    you might want to check out the independent as a "foreign" source as well -- especially this article that presents another side of the whole pirate issue....

  17. FekketCantenel
    April 23, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Allow me to be the first Japanophile to link up:

  18. Eric Honaker
    April 23, 2009 at 10:42 am

    I agree with you that we should diversify our news sources, but I would like to point out that I heard about every single one of your examples through the American media. NPR.

  19. Wai
    April 23, 2009 at 9:09 am

    these news sources surely will help us to look through all happenings through different perspectives.

    But I would like to point out that even I don't read any news paper and neither care too much bout US happenings, the TEA parties and Cuba issue have ubiquitous mentions in mainstream medias, too obvious for me to ignore. Faux news 'sponsors' the TEA parties while you can see CNN and others bashing the ideas.

  20. Chris
    April 23, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Well done! This what we all shoud do! During the Gulf wars I used to visit Aljazeera to have another look on the news and this was always very informative.
    The problem with the media is that they do not want to inform us, they want to entertain us! Quite another thing...

  21. Vic
    April 23, 2009 at 9:12 am

    I think these other news sites do provide a valuable resource, but mostly for the purpose of giving some insight into the general attitudes prevailing in other countries, rather than as a source of hard, reliable information. The last 8 years have confirmed pretty clearly that the US media is certainly NOT in the pocket of the government (except when it really likes the guy in office). I would suspect that the "news" outlets in places like China, Iran, and Cuba are considerably more...hesitant to express disagreement with their government.

    Oh, and as for the gratuitous Fox News bash: [Broken Link Removed]