September 25, 2023


Unlimited Technology

How to Access the News on Tor

When people face censorship, accessing up-to-date and accurate information becomes difficult. Censorship takes many forms, and cutting people off from sources of news, and other information is one of them.

Thankfully, there are ways to access current and unfolding news stories online when the regular avenues are cut: Tor. A number of leading news outlets maintain websites on the Tor network, allowing anyone to access information and news from around the world, regardless of location, censorship, or otherwise.

So, here’s how you can use Tor to access all manner of news websites, no matter where you are.

What Is Tor?

“Tor” refers to the Tor Project, a non-profit organization that receives funding from numerous sponsors, including US federal agencies, private foundations, tech companies, and individuals. At its core, the Tor Project promotes open internet access for everyone, no matter where they are, free from censorship and surveillance.

Tor’s two biggest assets are its Tor network, which you access through the Tor browser. In short, the Tor network uses onion routing to protect user privacy. All data sent on the Tor network is wrapped in multiple layers, ensuring it passes from origin to destination while protecting from surveillance, interference, or otherwise. Our guide to how onion routing works explains the process in more detail, but in (very basic) essence, this is how the Tor network’s encryption protects your data in transit.


How Do I Access the Tor Network?

To access the Tor network, you need to download the Tor browser. The Tor browser is a heavily modified Mozilla Firefox browser that includes all of the necessary privacy extensions and custom configuration files required to access the Tor network. It comes preconfigured out-of-the-box, and unless you know what you’re doing, it’s best to leave the security and privacy settings alone. A misconfigured Tor browser could expose your data or that you cannot access the Tor network.

Visit the Tor Browser download page and install it onto your system. Once installed, you use it as a normal browser, although you’ll need special onion addresses to access sites hosted on the Tor network. An onion address is usually a long alphanumeric string followed by the .onion top-level domain. You can access regular websites through the Tor network, too, though when you do so, your traffic passes through the Tor network and back out into the clearnet (the regular internet) via an exit node.

Because of the extra encryption protecting your data, you’ll find the Tor network and Tor browser slower than your regular browser. The additional security is worth it in certain situations, but most security experts don’t advise using the Tor browser as your daily driver. It’s not really built for that, and some of the privacy settings will break certain features on websites you visit regularly.

How to Access News on the Tor Network

Now, several news outlets maintain onion sites on the Tor network, giving people the chance to access a news source in times of need. Please note we’re not contending that the news you can find on the Tor network is unbiased or has any sort of political leaning. Some sources are less biased than others, and you can make of that what you will. This article merely directs those affected by surveillance and censorship to a place where they can access a source of news.

1. BBC News

The BBC has operated an onion site for years, allowing people worldwide to access its news and journalism. The BBC News onion address is:

  • https://www.bbcnewsd73hkzno2ini43t4gblxvycyac5aw4gnv7t2rccijh7745uqd.onion/

Copy and paste the address into your Tor browser address bar.

Bonus: English not your first language? The BBC covers the news in heaps of different languages. Check out the BBC News In Your Language onion side for your native tongue:

  • https://www.bbcweb3hytmzhn5d532owbu6oqadra5z3ar726vq5kgwwn6aucdccrad.onion/ws/languages

2. Deutsche Welle

Similar to the BBC, German state-owned broadcaster Deutsche Welle operates an onion site to maintain access to its news worldwide. The Deutsche Welle onion address is:

  • https://dwnewsgngmhlplxy6o2twtfgjnrnjxbegbwqx6wnotdhkzt562tszfid.onion/

Copy and paste the address into your Tor browser address bar.

3. The New York Times

Another of the world’s leading news outlets, The New York Times also keeps an onion address up and running. The New York Times onion address is:

  • https://www.nytimesn7cgmftshazwhfgzm37qxb44r64ytbb2dj3x62d2lljsciiyd.onion/

Copy and paste the address into your Tor browser address bar.

4. ProPublica

ProPublica is a world-leading investigative journalism outlet that has won multiple Pulitzer Prizes for its work. Although you won’t necessarily find “breaking news” there, you’ll find a wealth of information on a number of topics. The ProPublica onion address is:

  • http://p53lf57qovyuvwsc6xnrppyply3vtqm7l6pcobkmyqsiofyeznfu5uqd.onion/

Copy and paste the address into your Tor browser address bar.

5. The Intercept

Again, The Intercept isn’t a straight-up breaking news site, but you’ll find plenty of investigative journalism and reporting relating to the recent news features. The Intercept onion address is:

  • https://27m3p2uv7igmj6kvd4ql3cct5h3sdwrsajovkkndeufumzyfhlfev4qd.onion/

Copy and paste the address into your Tor browser address bar.

6. Radio Free Europe

Last but not least, Radio Free Europe is a broadcaster delivering news to countries worldwide, but with a focus on Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Caucasus, and the Middle East. You can both read and listen to the latest news through Radio Free Europe’s onion site:

  • https://www.rferlo2zxgv23tct66v45s5mecftol5vod3hf4rqbipfp46fqu2q56ad.onion/

Copy and paste the address into your Tor browser address bar.

Bonus: Facebook Onion Site

Now, Facebook isn’t a source of news. Furthermore, the news you find on Facebook could come from anywhere. However, gaining access to Facebook if you’re facing censorship or surveillance could be incredibly useful, even if it’s just to let people know that you’re okay or otherwise. Facebook’s onion address is:

  • https://www.facebookwkhpilnemxj7asaniu7vnjjbiltxjqhye3mhbshg7kx5tfyd.onion/

You Can Now Use Tor to Access the News

Accessing the Tor network to keep abreast of world news could be crucial at a time of need. There’s no knowing when your favorite news site might be pushed offline, and you’ll want to understand what’s going on around you.

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