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May 09, 1980 - Image 15

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1980-05-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

PBS arng of movie
sparks controversy
NEW YORK (AP)-The Public committee chairman, and Rep. William
Broomfield (R-Mich.), urged in House
Broadcasting Service insisted yester- speeches that the film-which they aaid
day that "Death of a Princess" will air is offensive to Saudi Arabia-not be
Monday despite pressure from the shown.
Mobil Corp., one of the system's major ' "IT IS REGRETTABLE that the
supporters, to "review its decision to decision was made by an organization
run the film." funded in part by the U.S. gover-
Mobil, which spends nearly $5 million nment," said Zablocki in a pointed
a year on public television, said in an remark that drew immediate fire from
advertisement in yesterday's New several House liberals.
York Times that PBS's airing of the "In a country with a First Amendment
film "raises some very serious issues." and Freedom of the Press, it's not ap-
Mobil said the ad would run today in the propriate for leading members of the
Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los House to appeal in this way to a
Angeles Times, Washington Post, and medium that has the right to broadcast
Washington Star. whatever it sees fit," said Rep. Andrew
THE MOVIE ENRAGED Saudi Maguire (D-N.J.).
Arabia's government when it was aired Rep. Anthony Moffett (D-Conn.)
in England last month, and the Saudis called the criticism of PBS a blatant at-
expelled the British ambassador to tempt to appease Saudi Arabia and
their country. At leat 10 PBS stations protect U.S. oil sources. He called it a
have said they will not carry the "dangerous moment."
movie-but about 100 others will. British filmmaker Antony Thomas
At midday, PBS received a letter has said repeatedly the two-hour
from the State Department asking that production is a faithful transcription of
the system give "appropriate con- interviews with various people familiar
sideration" to Saudi concerns, but with the 1977 executions.
ruling out any attempt at censorship. The Mobil ad questions the
The Saudi government complained obligations of a free press and the role
Wednesday to the State Department of the government in supporting public
that the film is offensive and in- TV, but a third point, headlined "The
nacurate. 'Reality' of Docu-drama," most
The film tells of the public executions angered Thomas and co-producer
of a Saudi Arabian princess and her David Fanning.
commoner lover for adultery.
largest oil company, is one of the four ALLSEATS 5.50 UNTI A:3L
U.S. owners of Arabian American Oil * - 4 NGwA CNIL
Co. Aramco produces nearly 75 per cent
of Saudi Arabia's 9.5 million barrels-a-
day oil output. Saudi Arabia is the
largest foreign oil supplier to the United
States, accounting for about 7.5 per cent
of U.S. oil needs. "
Barry Chase, PBS's director of
current affairs programming, said the
system's plans would change "not at
all." David 0. Ives, president of
Boston's WGBN, the producing station
for "Death of a Princess," echoed
%Chase's resolve.
The broadcast is funded by public and
private sources and no corporate s
money is being used.
THERE HAVE BEEN reports of
pressure by oil companies on individual - - - -
stations, but, said Chase, "The ad was
the first I'd heard that Mobil had a
position on the film."
A Mobil spokesman, Bryant Mason, -*" se, sFr. w.9:1-
said the company had not contacted - 100-310-520-73-9:40 -
PBS or any public TV stations about the An Am -rir
film. He said Saudi Arabia had not n Dream e i OWIN
communicated with Mobil about the
film. Becomes a
Exxon Corp., another Aramco partner Lov StorC .
that spends $4 million a year on public TRMMY IYE JONE
TV, said it had heard from the Saudis
about the film, and had passed the ob-
jections on to the State Department. An _
Exxon spokesman said broadcast of
the film would not affect the company's
future relations with PBS.
THERE WAS NO immediate com-
ment from Texaco, Inc. or Standard Oil " "ON
Co. of California, other Arameo par- Nit' -
tners. M
Mobil has spent about $30 million on
programs for public TV in the last
decade, and is the underwriter for one
of PBS's most successful series,
"Masterpiece Theater," also produced
by WGBH.
In Washington, both the chairman 2ND
and ranking Republican on the House gr l YEAR!
Foreign Affairs Committee accused
PBS of using poor judgment in its and
decision to air the controversial
p Clement Zablockj 0-Wis.), tl

The Michigan Daily-Friday, May 9, 1980-Page 15
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