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Russia's FM: CNN editing of Russian UN envoy's interview deemed beyond understanding

November 28, 2013, 18:34 UTC+3 28
Foreign ministry spokesperson pointed out that Russia’s essential views were not allowed to go on the air at the crucial moment of negotiations ahead of the Geneva-2 peace conference
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© EPA/JUSTIN LANE

OSCOW, November 28 (Itar-Tass) - The reasons why the CNN television network ‘edited’ an interview with Russia's Permanent Representative at the UN, Vitaly Churkin, is beyond understanding, the Deputy Director of Russian Foreign Ministry’s Information and Press Department, Maria Zakharova, said Thursday.

“By cutting out some fundamental evaluations of and comments on the Syrian situation from Churkin’s interview the CNN has overstepped the limits of professionalism.” This incident is beyond understanding, the diplomat believes. “Such practices, customary in the Western media, of dropping all evaluations or statements deemed ‘unnecessary’ for their countries’ audiences, is now not an exception but a norm, especially in relation to Russian representatives.”

Zakharova pointed out that Russia’s essential views were not allowed to go on the air at the crucial moment of negotiations ahead of the Geneva-2 peace conference.

“I do not know how CNN is going to behave and how it will explain” the incident, Zakharova said. “Any attempts to blame such editing on the lack of air time and to present the omitted fragments as insignificant would be unfounded.” Zakharova added she did not know whether the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, MacFaul, who is so critical of the Russian media, would comment on the situation but “Churkin is a high-class professional with an excellent command of English and a welcome guest to all world media.”

In particular, the CNN removed Churkin’s call for turning an attentive ear to the aspirations of the Syrian people, who mostly support President Assad, and a statement about the obstacles the opposition puts in the way of humanitarian aid. The final version lacks the Russian diplomat’s answers to the two key questions, one of them about Assad’s role in negotiations after the interim process would start in the country.

“This is something that the Syrians will decide themselves,” the unedited version of the interview on the official site of the Russian permanent mission to the UN quotes Churkin as saying. “It’s a fact of life that many Syrians, a large segment of the Syrian population, support President Assad, which has to be taken into account,” too.

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