CNN, Al-Jazeera sever ties

Network lied about video's existence

CNN ended its affiliate relationship with Qatar-based satcaster Al-Jazeera Thursday after learning that the network lied about the existence of an on-camera interview with Osama bin Laden.

Al-Jazeera has repeatedly denied that it was in possession of a videotaped interview with the accused terrorist. But in the last few days, through outside sources, CNN obtained a copy of the interview, which was conducted on Oct. 20.

CNN aired the video last night amid protests by Al-Jazeera, which threatened to pursue legal options against CNN for airing the videotape.

“There was nothing that was going to stop CNN from airing this videotape because it’s very newsworthy and we believe that we’re entitled to it under our affiliate agreement,” CNN chief news exec Eason Jordan said Thursday during an interview on CNN International.

For some time after Sept. 11, Al-Jazeera was the only service broadcasting from within Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. CNN signed an exclusive pact with the net, which later made a similar deal with ABC News.

CNN didn’t share the video with other news nets. “We can not give away any material that belongs to another network,” said a spokeswoman.

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