As part of a regular update of the EpochTimes.de Nutrition Label, NewsGuard contacted the website in January 2024. An EpochTimes spokesperson, who asked not to be named, sent a statement and asked for it to be published in full. Previously, during an April 2022 update of the EpochTimes.de Nutrition Label, NewsGuard also contacted the site about its coverage of the war in Ukraine. The site sent comments and the same representative asked for the entire statement to be published. 

Both NewsGuard emails to the site and their full responses are below.

(Note: This letter was originally written in German. NewsGuard’s team translated it into English. The German version can be found here.)

Email from Annika Grosser

NewsGuard Analyst

December 19, 2023

Dear Sir or Madam,

In recent years, you’ve been in contact with my colleagues regarding our Nutrition Label for your website EpochTimes.de. As part of our regular updates cycle, I am currently working on an update of our analysis. As we will be including current article examples in our profile, I would like to give you the opportunity to comment.

1) One criterion NewsGuard looks at when evaluating websites is that they do not publish false or grossly misleading information. You can read more about this criterion and its application on our website: 


We found that EpochTimes.de has published articles that contain false or misleading claims and will most likely include the following examples in our analysis, which you are welcome to comment on.

https://www.epochtimes.de/meinung/gastkommentar/thorsten-polleit-wider-die-zerstoerung-der-westlichen-zivilisation-a4496510.html  (This states that the Great Reset is “a gloomy idea: people should no longer be allowed to organize their lives in a system of free markets. Instead, people’s destinies should be controlled and guided by a central authority – a technocratic elite, a world council, a world government.” However, the Great Reset is an official government initiative that was presented at a meeting of the World Economic Forum in June 2020. The World Economic Forum is an advisory body that does not have the power to legislate or tell governments what to do).

https://www.epochtimes.de/politik/deutschland/dr-gunter-frank-staat-beteiligt-an-justiziablem-verbrechen-a4492411.html  (Here, COVID-19 is compared to seasonal flu: “In terms of COVID, the data show that this disease can be classified as part of a flu epidemic. It is certainly the case that it was perhaps more infectious in Wuhan at the beginning,” says Frank. “But here in Europe, it was already clear from the infection mortality rate in February that it was part of a winter flu epidemic.” The article did not cite any sources for Frank’s claim, nor did it cast doubt on it. However, several studies reviewed by experts have shown that COVID-19 is significantly more deadly than seasonal flu. For example, a French study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine in December 2020 compared COVID-19 patients hospitalized in March and April 2020 with flu patients hospitalized between December 2018 and February 2019. The study found that the mortality rate for COVID-19 patients was almost three times higher than the mortality rate for flu patients. A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in May 2020 found that the weekly death rate from COVID-19 in April 2020 was 20 times higher than the deadliest week of an average flu season).

2. We also noticed that articles published in news sections on EpochTimes.de include opinionated content. In the updated Nutrition Label, we will likely cite the following articles, in which we found that news and opinion are not clearly separated. You are welcome to comment on this practice and the examples as well.

https://www.epochtimes.de/politik/ausland/facebook-google-und-co-antreten-zum-zensur-rapport-bei-der-eu-a4425585.html  (“The tighter these laws and regulations are tightened and the more companies are forced into this digital corset, the more undemocratic forces in the EU determine what is truth and what is lies.”)

https://www.epochtimes.de/wirtschaft/gefaehrliches-scheitern-auf-raten-alte-schulden-und-zinsen-werden-mit-neuen-schulden-bezahlt-a4419713.html  (“It is definitely not a solution to replace old power structures with new ones and then usher in the next cycle of misery in a different guise. In my opinion, money is the means of power par excellence and is therefore the key cause of the devastating developments in its current state-monopoly form.”)

https://www.epochtimes.de/gesellschaft/wenn-die-andere-meinung-boese-ist-youtube-narzissmus-transhumanismus-a4374236.html  (“Never since the Federal Republic of Germany was founded does it seem to have been as difficult in our society as it is today to tolerate other opinions and debate them objectively.”)

3. In my analysis of EpochTimes.de, I was also unable to find any information on how corrections are handled. Is there an internal guideline? Could you send me some examples of published content corrections?

We can include your statement or parts of it in our media profile before publishing the updated analysis. If you would prefer a telephone call, please let me know a good number to reach you and I will get back to you as soon as possible.


Annika Grosser

Email from Epoch Times’s spokesperson 

January 5, 2024

Dear Ms. Grosser,

As promised, here is our response to your inquiry of 19/22/12/2023.

Re 1, guest commentary by Thorsten Polleit:

Contrary to your statement that the “Great Reset is an official government initiative”, I am not aware of any publication on the part of the German government, in which the terminology of the “Great Reset” is used, furthermore explicitly representing an official goal. The term was coined by WEF founder Klaus Schwab in a book publication. In the spirit of communist utopia, the WEF communicates the essential goal (Agenda 1 in the promotional video) “In 2030 you will own nothing

and be happy.” On the Chinese Communist Party’s state TV station CCTV, Schwab presented the “Chinese model,” i.e. a totalitarian regime, as “preferable” to our Western democracy. Such interventions in private property and the market economy sought by the WEF through the “Great Reset” against the backdrop of a “Chinese model preferred by its founder” may be criticized in an open society of a free country, especially as a marked opinion piece is subject to the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.

One of the tasks of the media is to present different opinions, regardless of whether these are majority or minority opinions, in order to expand democratic discourse. Epoch Times follows this constitutionally guaranteed freedom here, even if some call for the suppression or censorship of opinions that do not fit into their worldview or ideology.

Re 1, interview with Dr. Gunter Frank:

The above comments on freedom of speech apply analogously to statements made in the interview with Dr. Frank that you refer to.

With regard to the content of your criticism, it should be noted that, firstly, Dr. Frank does not represent a single opinion among critics on the mortality of COVID-19, but that several renowned doctors share the same opinion. At present, one can rather come to the conclusion that there is no conclusive agreement on the question of mortality in medicine or among scientists.

It is all the more surprising that you cite two studies from 2020 (April and December) on COVID-19 mortality at the end of 2023 and want to weigh them as an argument against Dr. Frank, whereby not only the initial 2020 status of the studies you mentioned at the time of your request at the end of 2023 was obviously subject to continuous scientific consideration and innovations and continues to be subject to them. Your argumentation is based on the 2020 status, the interview with Dr. Frank took place in November 2023. Obviously, the 2020 studies could not possibly have chronologically included the subsequent virus variants, which means that a comparison with an interview in November 2023 fails.

The fact that there is a need for further discussion here and that no conclusive truth can be asserted in the 2020 studies can also be seen, among other things, from the question that has not been conclusively clarified as to how many of the “those who died from and with corona” actually died from COVID-19, as our Vice President of the German Bundestag Wolfgang Kubicki already made clear at the end of August 2021 by sharing the “WELT” article “Corona probably not the cause of death in 80 percent of official Covid deaths” on social media.

Finally to your quote “weekly death rate from COVID-19 in April 2020 was 20 times higher than the deadliest week of an average flu season.” This 2020 figure has already been overtaken and substantiated by a study published on February 24, 2022 in the renowned medical journal “The Lancet” (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)02867-1/fulltext), as it states that the mortality rate for over 60-year-olds is just over one percent, compared to only one twentieth, i.e. 0.05 percent, for 30-year-olds and 0.002 percent for children. Incidentally, as of December 19, 2023, the Federal Statistical Office assumes a COVID-19 mortality rate in Germany of 0.47% (distributed across all age groups).

This example again makes it clear that a differentiated view of this topic is appropriate in order to differentiate mortality in terms of age group and virus variants. Hearing critical opinions, such as Dr. Frank’s, serves to broaden the discourse, as described above.

Newsguard is therefore remarkably quick to defame critical opinions as “false” or “grossly misleading” or as a “conspiracy theory,” even though Newsguard has already had to revise its inadequacies in the past due to insufficient work, see Newsguard’s apology for Lab Leak defamations. This also includes the undifferentiated claim about mortality, arguing with old 2020 studies at the end of 2023.

Re 2.

Thank you for pointing this out. After reviewing it, I can inform you that there is apparently a technical error, which is why the three articles you mentioned under 2. were not recognizable as opinion articles in the article itself, but they were correctly published in the “Opinion” section of our website. If you go to the “Opinion” tab on Epochtimes.de, you can find the articles in the Opinion section as of 5.1.24 10:28 a.m. as follows:

1. article “Facebook, Google and co. – Lining up for the censorship report to the EU” on page 4 of the opinion section

section: https://www.epochtimes.de/meinung/page/4

2nd article “Dangerous failure in installments”: Old debts and interest are “paid” with new debts

also on page 4 https://www.epochtimes.de/meinung/page/4

3rd article “When the other opinion is evil: YouTube, narcissism, transhumanism” on page 5 of the section 3rd article “When the other opinion is evil: YouTube, narcissism, transhumanism” on page 5 of the Opinion section https://www.epochtimes.de/meinung/page/5

I am forwarding this technical error to the relevant authorities so that the source of the error can be found and permanently eliminated. However, it is already clear that the article was correctly placed in the Opinion section, but that an IT problem has unfortunately led to this situation. We will rectify this as soon as possible.

Re 3.

You can find examples of how to deal with corrections in the following articles, for example:

2020: https://www.epochtimes.de/gesundheit/unstatistik-des-monats-der-impfstoff-ist-zu-90-prozent-wirksam-a3408796.html

2021: https://www.epochtimes.de/politik/deutschland/bundesrechnungshof-bestaetigt-manipulation-bei- intensive-care-bed-livestream-advice-epidemic-situation-a3533409.html

2023: https://www.epochtimes.de/umwelt/klima/wetterdienst-bleib-bei-deinem-wetter-a4204688.html


With kind regards


Email from Annika Grosser

NewsGuard Analyst

January 10, 2024

Dear xxxxxxxxxx

Thank you, your comments have now reached me.

In regard to the Great Reset article, we will include part of your statement in the analysis.

In the case of the Corona article, we refer to this passage in the article: “With regard to COVID, the data show that this disease can be classified as part of a flu epidemic. It is certainly the case that it was perhaps more infectious in Wuhan at the beginning,” says Frank. “But here in Europe, it was already clear from the infection mortality rate in February that it was part of a winter flu epidemic.” As this is a statement about the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020, we have cited studies from that time to refute the statement.

With regard to the unlabeled opinion pieces, we will be happy to adjust the label as soon as the technical change has been made on the website. Please let us know as soon as this has been done.

Thank you for the examples with corrections that you have sent me. For your information, EpochTimes.de is still failing to meet our standard for corrections, as the false claims we found in this analysis, as well as in previous years on the site, remain uncorrected. If you would like to comment on this, please let me know.


Annika Grosser

Email from Elena Bernard 

NewsGuard analyst

April 11, 2022

Dear Sir or Madam,

On behalf of NewsGuard, I am currently updating our media profile on EpochTimes.de. We recently noticed several articles that quote Russian officials with false statements about an alleged genocide against the Russian minority in eastern Ukraine, without distancing themselves from these statements. I am sharing two examples below for your comment:



If you provide me with your comments by the end of this week, we can include them in the media profile before the update is published.

Best regards

Elena Bernard

For more information about NewsGuard, please visit www.newsguardtech.com/de, as well as our full set of criteria and ownership information. Among others, Deutschlandfunk, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Neue Zürcher Zeitung have reported on our project. You can find the articles in our media reports. 

Email from Epoch Times representative

April 14, 2022

Dear Ms. Bernard,

The two articles you refer to are exclusively agency reports that we have summarized and adopted the wording you mentioned. As you know, this is a common practice in everyday media life, since agency reports are so-called privileged sources.

Incidentally, you can also see the same wording in other media that used the same agency reports. As a support for your research work, you can see it here, for example:

1. regarding our article https://www.epochtimes.de/politik/ausland/lawrow-spricht-ukrainischer-regierung-demokratische-legitimation-ab-a3734557.html

you can find the same wording e.g. on ZDF, Tagesspiegel or Zeit:




2. regarding our article https://www.epochtimes.de/politik/ausland/putin-konflikt-in-der-ostukraine-aehnelt-einem-voelkermord-2-a3662889.html

you will find the same wording e.g. on MDR


or also in the agency report on RND


Also in view of the fact that the reports and wordings are mere agency reports, the question arises whether you have made the same request to the press agencies named in our articles as well as to other media (e.g. the above links ZDF, MDR, ZEIT). We doubt this with ignorance and must first assume that a purposeful discrediting is intended here.

In addition, we ask you to note that a distancing in a pure reporting in the form of neutral reproduction of news, or in this case of statements by public figures, due to lack of media proximity is generally not necessary, as you can also see from the original agency reports, whose phrasing we have merely adopted.  

Obviously the impression exists about Newsguard that hasty judgments are drawn and not at all factually but rather ideologically derived. This can be seen par excellence in the way Newsguard works with the example of the “Lab Leak”, with which the company and the employees concerned have independently branded themselves. Obviously, under the false guise of an objective evaluation of media, a subjective-ideological prejudgement was in fact carried out, the result of which corresponds more to a defamation campaign than to any objective rating and indisputably violates journalistic principles.

For this reason, we in the Legal Department are entrusted with keeping a special eye on the work of Newsguard. Here, there are encroachments on competition law that not only give rise to claims under civil law, but in cases such as the “Lab Leak” – despite Newsguard’s apology (https://www.newsguardtech.com/de/special-reports/coronavirus-misinformation-tracking-center/) – give rise to the assumption of criminal defamation pursuant to § 187 et seq. of the German Criminal Code (StGB) with particular severity due to the public dissemination.

In this respect, Epoch Times Deutschland reserves the right, on the one hand, to assert legal claims against both the company and the authors as authors on the basis of damage to reputation and, on the other hand, to file a criminal complaint with the responsible public prosecutor’s office on the basis of the massive initial suspicion of defamation.

Thus I hereby request you already now make available immediately any publications to do with your inquiry of 11.04.2022.

Finally, we would like to point out that you may only quote complete passages from this response letter and not out of context. A link to the complete response letter is suggested due to Newsguard’s serious misconduct in the past.



Email from Marie Richter

NewsGuard Managing Editor, Germany 

May 5, 2022

Dear xxxxxxx

Thank you very much for your response. We have published the full version of your response alongside the Nutrition Label via a link at the bottom of the analysis, together with our replies to you as well. Attached to this email, I’m sending you our full, published Nutrition Label analysis as promised.

As for your questions, in our analyses, we do consider articles that cite officials or other persons. In the case that these cited statements include false or misleading statements, we look for some caveat by the site — meaning, in this case, that statements made by Russian officials are not left unchallenged or without the necessary context. 

We’ve reviewed the articles you’ve shared with us. As per our policy, we do not comment on our analyses of other websites to other media outlets. You can read about how we made the assessments in our Nutrition Labels. However, you’ll notice that in the case of the first article that we are discussing (https://www.epochtimes.de/politik/ausland/lawrow-spricht-ukrainischer-regierung-demokratische-legitimation-ab-a3734557.html), although it is true that the other articles you sent are based on the same agency reports, they distance themselves and provide context to the cited statements: Tagesspiegel explicitly calls the statement a “false allegation,” Zeit Online speaks of “Russian propaganda,” and ZDF uses the word “alleged” several times and also presents additional context. We found no such caveats in the article on EpochTimes.de. 


Marie Richter