CNN apologizes over terror slur
14 August 2015, 08:06
Nairobi - U.S. news network, CNN, expressed deep regret on Thursday after portraying Kenya as a "hotbed of terror" ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to Nairobi in July.
CNN's Global Managing Director, Tony Maddox, flew to Nairobi to personally deliver the apology to President Uhuru Kenyatta, admitting that the description of Kenya as a "hotbed of terror" was both ill fitting and undeserved.
"It wasn't a deliberate attempt to portray Kenya negatively; it is regrettable and we shouldn't have done it," Maddox said according to a statement issued in Nairobi after the meeting.
"There is a world at a war with extremists; we know what a hotbed of terror looks like, and Kenya isn't one," the CNN chief added.
"We acknowledge there is a widespread feeling that the report annoyed many, which is why we pulled down the report as soon as we noticed," said Maddox who oversees CNN's global editorial policy, and manages CNN news content globally, in his apology.
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The CNN reported on July 23 that President Obama was not just heading to his father's ancestral land but to a "hotbed of terror", sparking furious reactions from Kenyans on social media.
Kenyan officials said the CNN headline, "Security fears as Obama heads to terror hotbed", sought to discredit the status of Kenya as a secure nation.
Last month's report came in the wake of a similar gaffe by CNN before the Kenyan general election of 2013, which also sparked a campaign across Kenyan social media.
On Thursday, Kenyatta expressed his deep disappointment at the story not only on behalf of the government, but also because it angered the people of Kenya.
The president reiterated that the war on terror was a global threat, not exclusive to Kenya, and that Kenya's troops and people have made great sacrifices and still do, to keep Kenya and the region safe.
He added that CNN's misrepresentation of Kenya was unfortunate and ill timed, since it came at a critical moment in Kenya's history.
"In one stroke, CNN's description of Kenya as a 'hotbed of terror' undermined the sacrifices made by our Kenyan troops, and the value of hundreds of lives lost, and relegated them to nothing," Kenyatta said.
"That's why Kenyans, as expressed by those on Twitter, were so angry. Kenya is nothing like the countries that have real war. There was no reason to portray Kenya in that way," he added.
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