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PBS Seeks to Balance Pro-Arab View in Special Broadcast

July 20, 1989

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Public Broadcasting Service is trying to balance the pro-Arab point of view of a documentary to be aired during a special about the Palestinian uprising, The New York Times reported today.

PBS is spending $150,000 in additional documentary material and analysis to accompany ″Days of Rage: The Young Palestinians,″ the Times said. The film, which cost $180,000 to make last summer, has stirred protest for being pro- Palestinian.

Many journalists and critics who have seen ″Days of Rage″ say it is one- sided but provides a perspective unusual for American television.

The 90-minute film about the uprising, known as the intefadeh, has been shown in several screenings across the country. After one postponement, it is scheduled for nationwide viewing Sept. 6 during a PBS special called ″Intifada: The Palestinians and Israel.″

Two other ″minidocumentaries″ - one on the Israeli presence in the occupied territories and the other on human rights abuses - will be broadcast during the 2 1/2 -hour special.

Jo Franklin-Trout, the film’s producer and director, called the decision to develop additional footage ″intellectually dishonest.″ But she said a meeting Wednesday with John Sharnik, who is producing the extra programming, was ″cordial.″

Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, said after seeing the film this week that it is ″an inaccurate, biased documentary which lacks historical or present perspective.″

He said PBS is acting irresponsibly in showing it.

Stella Giamassi, a spokeswoman for public television station WNET, said about 70 percent of the 2,500 letters the station has received protested the planned broadcast.

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