NYC's Channel 13 (PBS) Cancels Panel on Armenians

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Channel 13, the PBS station serving New York, has dropped plans to show a controversial panel discussion that includes two people who raise doubts about whether the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks was genocide, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

The spokeswoman, Stella Giammasi, said the station had made the decision after reviewing the half-hour program, which was to follow a new one-hour documentary, "The Armenian Genocide," scheduled to be broadcast April 17 at 10 p.m. "We just really had the opportunity to see both, and people here feel the documentary stands on it own," she said. United States Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a Brooklyn Democrat, who had held a protest outside the New York station on Saturday, praised the decision. Armenians worldwide have lobbied for decades to have the deaths of 1.5 million of their ancestors at the hands of Ottoman Turks recognized as genocide. Armenian groups and members of Congress have urged PBS to drop the debate program, which includes two scholars who contend that the death toll was exaggerated and that it did not result from a state-sponsored campaign, contrary to most historical accounts. PBS has offered both programs to its 348 affiliates but has left to them the decision whether to show either the film or debate or both. The network said it was not keeping track of the decisions.

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