The YES satellite television provider today declared that it is not taking CNN off the air, despite leaks to the contrary.
Many Israelis feel CNN and other foreign news broadcasters are biased against Israel. Communications Minister Reuven Rivlin said as much after CNN founder Ted Turner last week said last Tuesday that the Israeli army is engaged in "terrorism" against the Palestinians that could be compared to Palestinian suicide bomber attacks on Israelis.
"Rivlin protested CNN's coverage, like when terrorists are referred to as freedom fighters," Anat Friedman, Rivlin's spokesman said.
"We aren't censors and will not decide for our customers what they should and should not see," YES chief executive Shlomo Liran said today. "We have expanded our customers' choice by adding the excellent American news channel Fox News, but there is no basis to the rumors that we plan to pull the plug on any news channel." Fox is owned by conservative Australian media magnate Rupert Murdoch.
Today Communications Minister Reuven Rivlin will be meeting with CNN news division chief Eason Jordan to discuss the bias many Israelis perceive in news coverage of the Middle East conflict.
"He is here for consultations and meetings with newsmakers. Obviously...there are problems with the cable operators and that is one of the things on his agenda," said last week a CNN news figure in Jerusalem who asked not to be named.
"At least two of us (board members) have demanded that YES management take CNN off the air for at least 24 hours in protest over what Ted Turner said," a YES board member told Reuters last week.
"Turner's comments were the latest in a long line of biased coverage (against Israel)," a source close to Ram Belinkov, who will be chief executive of a merged company of the three cable providers - Matav Cable Systems (Nasdaq:MATV), Tevel and Golden Channels, said. "We are very dissatisfied with CNN's coverage. It's very problematic."