CNN Will Provide Satellite News to Vietnam
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Turner Broadcasting System said Thursday it had won its battle with the Bush administration over providing Cable News Network and a satellite receiving station to Vietnam.
The Atlanta-based Turner said the Commerce and Treasury departments, which had refused Turner’s request on grounds the deal would violate a strict U.S. trade embargo against Vietnam, finally agreed Thursday to allow the company to deliver its 24-hour cable TV news channel to Vietnamese Television.
In return, Turner will drop a lawsuit it filed last week in U.S. District Court against the Treasury, Commerce and State departments seeking an injunction to overturn the government’s refusal, said Bert Carp, Turner’s vice president for government relations.
Turner had said it would provide the earth receiving station at no charge and the CNN signal for the price of 50 Vietnamese dong a year, which is less than one U.S. penny.
But the administration, in agreeing to the deal, said Turner will not be allowed to collect any payment, according to an administration official who spoke only on the condition of anonymity.
The administration official said that in making its decision, the government considered ″the importance of having U.S. news programs in Vietnam.″ At the same time, the administration stuck to its guns over ″strictly prohibiting″ any money changing hands, the official said.
Treasury Department spokesman Larry Batdorf said he would have no immediate comment.
Congress had amended the trade embargo in 1988 to exempt information materials from trade sanctions. The administration had interpreted that to mean physical materials such as books and videocassettes could be exchanged with Vietnam, but not ″immaterial″ commodities, including TV signals.
Vietnam already provides videocassettes to Turner for ″CNN World Report,″ Carp said.
Carp, in a prepared statement, said the company was ″pleased the departments of Treasury and Commerce today approved our requests for licenses to provide CNN, along with a satellite dish, to Vietnamese Television.″
He said Vietnam will become the 86th country to receive CNN International.