CNN's failure to apologize rapped

(Xinhua-China Daily)
Updated: 2008-04-17 06:55

The Foreign Ministry Wednesday summoned CNN's Beijing executives to lodge a solemn representation for failing to apologize for insulting remarks by one of its commentators.

Spokesman Liu Jianchao said a statement issued by CNN on Tuesday failed to apologize for Jack Cafferty's remarks, which "maliciously attacked the Chinese people and seriously violated the professional ethics of journalism".

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"CNN's ulterior motive in targeting the Chinese government, continuing to mislead public opinion as well as deceiving the Chinese people will never succeed", Liu said in a written statement.

"Journalists should abide by ethics, and don't have the privilege to slander or rail at anybody or any government", Liu said in the statement, noting that CNN's recent reporting programs completely went against the principles of being objective and balanced - which the network often claimed as its basic standards for news coverage.

"We once again solemnly urge CNN and Cafferty to withdraw the vile remarks and make a sincere apology to all Chinese people", Liu said.

Beijing on Tuesday demanded an apology for Cafferty's comments aired on April 9, when he called Chinese products "junk" and the Chinese "goons and thugs".

CNN's statement said it "would like to clarify that it was not Cafferty's, nor CNN's, intent to cause offense to the Chinese people", and would "apologize to anyone who has interpreted the comments in this way".

"CNN is a network that reports the news in an objective and balanced fashion. However, as part of our coverage, we also employ commentators who provide robust opinions that generate debate".

The network also said Cafferty was offering his "strongly held" opinion of the Chinese government, not China's people, adding that he clarified the point on Monday.

The statement failed to assuage the feelings of many Chinese netizens, who think the "apology" lacks sincerity.

"The CNN statement in no way can be interpreted as an apology. I don't see any sincerity in that. It tried to defend its insulting remarks," said one posting on China Daily's website. "We demand a formal and sincere apology," it added.

A netizen named "Get it straight" said "the insult to the Chinese government was also an insult to all Chinese people".

"It does not change the racist and hostile nature of the comments," the netizen added.

Ding Gang, a commentator at People's Daily, said Cafferty's words reminded him of the Chinese Exclusion Act passed in the United States in 1882.

The act barred Chinese laborers from entering the United States and denied them naturalization following large-scale anti-Chinese protests in the 1870s.

"Though the US Congress abolished the act in 1943, racial discrimination is still deeply rooted in the minds of some people like Cafferty," Ding wrote on the People's Daily website.

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