Sunday, February 19, 2006

Out of Respect for Islam, CNN to Halt Coverage of Islamic Countries, Events

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ATLANTA -- Out of Respect for the religion of Islam, CNN President Jonathan N. Klein announced today that the network will no longer air content that is offensive to the religion's followers, including any other material that distorts the image of the "religion of peace."

"Two weeks ago, we made the maverick decision not to air the Mohammed cartoons -- not because all of us in Atlanta are afraid of being turned into human shish kabobs-- but because we don't want to offend the followers of this great world religion," said Klein. "The fact that we're still alive-- er, I mean--that we've gotten positive feedback from the world, shows we made the right decision."

As part of the new policy, CNN will not air any material that depicts Islamic followers involved in violent acts, since that goes against tenets of the Islam, the religion of peace. As a result, CNN reporters, producers, and camera crews today pulled out of Brunei, Chad, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Dijibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Egypt, Gambia, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Azerbajan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Chechnya, Eastern Timor, as well as parts of Detroit and Washington D.C.

"Since there won't be any news we can broadcast from those areas, there is no reason to keep news crews there,"he said. "If you look at our website today, you will notice it's pretty much Dick Cheney and Britney Spears."

When asked who would cover events in Islamic countries, Klein responded, "We'll leave it to MSNBC and some of those other guys. I heard the Food Channel might do something on Middle Eastern cuisine in the near future. You can check there."

Klein said he assured CNN staffers there will be no layoffs. "Some of these producers and reporters will be sent to the Vatican," he said. "There are so many accounts of how the Church is oppressing women, the poor and dissenters.As a news organization with a conscience, we want to get to the bottom of those stories."

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