CNN sent its investigative correspondent Amber Lyon to produce an expensive documentary on the Arab Spring, including human rights abuses in Bahrain. Lyon and her crew were violently detained by Bahraini security forces, but soldiered on and made "iRevolution: Online Warriors of the Arab Spring," which went on to win awards and acclaim after its sole airing on CNN.
But CNN International, "the most-watched English-speaking news outlet in the Middle East," has never aired the doc. While cutting the doc, Lyon was pressured to include statements from the Bahraini government that she knew to be lies. And CNN itself under-reported the ongoing abuses in Bahrain. Now, CNN has threatened Lyon with sanction for her continued work to uncover the reason that her doc was blackballed by the international arm of her former employer. CNN itself has been remarkably friendly to the Bahraini regime, with which it has close financial ties.
Here's more from Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian:
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On 16 August, Lyon wrote three tweets about this episode. CNNi's refusal to broadcast "iRevolution", she wrote, "baffled producers". Linking to the YouTube clip of the Bahrain segment, she added that the "censorship was devastating to my crew and activists who risked lives to tell [the] story." She posted a picture of herself with Rajab and wrote:
"A proponent of peace, @nabeelrajab risked his safety to show me how the regime oppresses the [people] of #Bahrain."
The following day, a representative of CNN's business affairs office called Lyon's acting agent, George Arquilla of Octagon Entertainment, and threatened that her severance payments and insurance benefits would be immediately terminated if she ever again spoke publicly about this matter, or spoke negatively about CNN.
Neetzan Zimmerman at Gawker: "T. J. Holmes was one mile from his Atlanta home when he was suddenly pulled over by two police cars. The normally affable CNN anchor proceeded to live-tweet the stop, getting progressively angerier with every status update." Read the rest
This weekend, CNN will air "Wikiwars," the network's much-promoted documentary on Wikileaks hosted by a former Navy SEAL. The one-hour program premieres Sunday, June 12, 8:00pm ET & PT, and will repeat at other times after that.
I haven't seen it yet, but Greg Mitchell, who has been blogging tirelessly about Wikileaks over at the Nation for nearly half a year now, has. The short version: "Like [the PBS] Frontline epic," he says, the CNN documentary contains "no new news."
This is a list of Assange / WikiLeaks critics interviewed (and quoted more than once): David Leigh, Nick Davies, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Adrian Lamo, Brigadier Gen. Mark T. Kimmitt (Ret.). Here is a list of Assange / WikiLeaks supporters interviewed: one unnamed and masked allegedly activist from Anonymous. Other critics who get face time: Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, even Newt Gingrich.
Not a surprise: The official Wikileaks Twitter account, presumably Julian Assange himself, describes the documentary as "full of the usual slanders."
Frontline on Wikileaks PBS hacked in retribution for Frontline Wikileaks episode PBS Hack and LulzSec: Xeni on The Madeleine Brand Radio Show ... Read the rest