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CNN bans own documentary critical of Bahraini regime

Published: September 5, 2012
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Source: Press TV

CNN international English-language television network has refused to broadcast a documentary which was produced by the US-based network itself but heavily criticized the Bahraini regime’s repression against anti-regime protesters.

The CNN-produced documentary, iRevolution, pictured the use of extreme brutality and violence by the Manama regime against peaceful anti-government protesters in Bahrain.

The program was however banned from being broadcast in the international network, with the editorial staff citing "purely editorial reasons” for the decision.

A Tuesday report by the British daily Guardian, however, linked the network’s move to ban the show to what it described as the CNN’s “aggressive pursuit of money” from the Bahraini government.

The report cited the CNN’s pursuit of “a business strategy of extensive, multifaceted financial arrangements” with several of the repressive Arab regimes, disclosing CNN’s “financial dealings” with the US-backed regime of Bahrain and branding the dealings as “deep and longstanding.”

According to the report, CNN’s reliance on revenue from the dictatorial Arab regimes increased significantly after the 2008 financial crisis.

“It (the CNN) thus pursued all-new, journalistically dubious ways to earn revenue from governments around the world. Bahrain has been one of the most aggressive government exploiters of the opportunities presented by CNNi (CNN International),” it said.

The report added that the CNN was long engaged in a type of “fawning coverage” of the Bahraini regime, citing numerous reports by the network praising Bahrain’s policies.
According to the report, besides the financial relationship, the fact that Bahrain is a close ally of the US government also constituted an obstacle to the network’s truly critical coverage of the kingdom.
Despite claims by the CNN that its journalistic work has not been compromised, Amber Lyon, the investigative correspondent who featured in the banned documentary, said that CNN journalists and producers complain persistently about the type of business-motivated censorship that is prevalent at the US-based news network.

Lyon, who was "laid off" by the CNN in March 2012, said that few are willing to speak out lest they might endanger their careers.

The CNN documentary was produced in early 2011 as the wave of Islamic Awakening swept across the Middle East and North Africa.

Bahrain, which is home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has been the scene of anti-regime protests since February last year and scores of people have been killed and hundreds more injured in the Saudi-backed crackdown on the protests.

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