Entertainment

Group protests CBC scuttling of Falun Gong doc

A lobby group critical of the Chinese government held a small lunch-hour protest at CBC headquarters in Toronto Friday, the same day officials confirmed a new broadcast date is coming for a Falun Gong documentary the CBC pulled this week.

Broadcast of rejigged film coming soon, says CBC spokesman

A lobby group critical of the Chinese government held a small lunch-hour protest at CBC headquarters in Toronto Friday, the same day officials confirmed a new broadcast date is coming for a Falun Gong documentary the CBC pulled this week.

Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong had been scheduled to air on CBC's documentary program The Lens on Tuesday night. That afternoon, the film was pulled andthe documentary Dinner with the President, about Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, was broadcast instead.

The switch came after the CBC was contacted by the Chinese Embassy, according to CBC spokesman Jeff Keay, who added that around the same time, CBC officials learned that a Falun Gong publication had been publishing stories that touted the broadcaster as a supporter of the spritual movement.

Before scuttling Tuesday night's broadcast of Beyond the Red Wall, "we determined that there were opportunities to make [the documentary] more journalistically solid and therefore more credible," Keay told CBCNews.ca Arts on Friday.

He also pointed to the timeliness of the Musharraf film.

Keay denied that the move was made to accommodate Chinese officials and said the CBC told embassy officials from the start that the network "has every intention of broadcasting the documentary."

Protesters from the lobby group Canadians Against Propaganda said Fridaythat the Communist Party of China should not be able to impose any kind of demand on the CBC.

"It shouldn't have the power to decide what is broadcast in democratic countries," said group spokesperson Barbara Kusy, who was among the seven or eight protesters.

"As for CBC, it should not cave in to these kinds of demands."

Kusy said she was assured Beyond the Red Wall would air on CBC-TV in the next 30 days.

"I'm looking forward to watching the documentary and we will follow up this matter closely," she said.

Peter Rowe, the film's producer, participated in a review of the film with senior CBC documentary staff this weekand has agreed to make some minor modifications.

"We want to be rigorous, journalistically rigorous," Keay said.

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