EXCLUSIVE: CNN Responds To GOP Senators Over CNN Turk Conditions

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Henry Rodgers Senior Congressional Correspondent
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CNN responded Tuesday to a letter four Republican senators sent that listed concerns about the company doing business in Turkey under CNN Turk.

The Daily Caller first obtained the email from CNN to the four senators, including Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, Florida Sen. Rick Scott and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. The group of GOP senators sent CNN the letter Jan. 27, sharing their concerns about Turkey’s history of jailing journalists, the country not prioritizing freedom of speech and CNN Turk’s role in the country’s reporting.

“As you are undoubtedly aware, Turkey remains one of the highest jailers of journalists in the world. The Erdogan government unjustifiably surveils, threatens, detains, and even kills journalists for reporting truths that threaten the authoritarian government’s power,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

“CNN’s mission claims to ‘inform, engage, and empower the world,’ yet the antisemitic, racist and other hate content created by CNN Turk impedes your network from succeeding in the very mission you seek to achieve. We urge you to revoke the license of CNN Turk as it stands and to work diligently to promote journalistic freedom of speech not only within CNN Turk, but also within Turkey,” the lawmakers added.


(DAILY CALLER OBTAINED) — … by Henry Rodgers

The Daily Caller obtained CNN’s response, in which the network said the “conditions for journalists in Turkey are very challenging.” (RELATED: CNN Names Three Temporary Replacements For Jeff Zucker)

“Thank you for your letter regarding CNN Turk. As you are aware, this is an independent channel, which licenses the CNN brand. In doing so it has also agreed to adhere to our standards and practices. As with all our partner networks, if these are not met, we address this directly and forcefully with the management,” Calvin Sims, CNN’s executive vice president for standards and practices, said in response to the senators.

“You rightly point out that conditions for journalists in Turkey are very challenging. Journalists there operate under extremely difficult circumstances, and I agree that this situation has worsened in recent years,” Sims continued. “This is true as much for CNN Turk’s journalists as those from any other local network, all of whom face politically motivated attacks from various sides. We work closely with our partner networks on training and development, and we also carefully monitor their output. This continues to be our approach with CNN Turk, particularly as we enter election season in Turkey.”

“The channel is working hard to ensure its coverage is fair and balanced. As with any of our partners we reserve the right to revoke their license to use the CNN brand,” he added.

Blackburn was not pleased with CNN’s response, telling the Daily Caller that CNN should revoke CNN Turk’s license. (RELATED: Trump Responds To Jeff Zucker Leaving CNN)

“The integrity of CNN Turk’s reporting is deeply disturbing. Though they didn’t have a credible reputation to begin with, their compliance with Turkey’s violence towards journalists is a new low. Journalists have a responsibility to hold those in power accountable, and CNN has chosen to do the opposite by not revoking CNN Turk’s license,” Blackburn told the Daily Caller.