Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 775-1918
Fax: (202) 775-5648
E-mail: [email protected]
Internet: www.anca.org

PRESS RELEASE
April 5, 2006
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Tel: (202) 775-1918

BIPARTISAN GROUP OF THIRTY U.S. REPRESENTATIVES URGE PBS
NOT TO PROVIDE A PLATFORM FOR ARMENIAN GENOCIDE DENIERS

-- Reps. Schiff, Radanovich, Pallone, and Knollenberg
Enlist the Support of their House Colleagues in
Opposing Tax-Payer Funded Broadcast of Genocide Denial

-- Standing room only crowd attends Capitol Hill screening
of "The Armenian Genocide" hosted by Rep. Schiff

WASHINGTON, DC - Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was joined by Rep. George
Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank
Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), and a bipartisan group
of twenty-six U.S. Representatives in urging the Public
Broadcasting Service (PBS) not to provide a broadcast platform for
deniers of the Armenian Genocide, reported the Armenian National
Committee of America (ANCA).

In an April 3rd letter, addressed to PBS Chief Operating Officer
Wayne Godwin, the House Members addressed the growing controversy
surrounding plans by PBS to broadcast a panel discussion including
known Armenian Genocide deniers Justin McCarthy and Omer Turan
following the airing this April of the documentary "The Armenian
Genocide," produced by Andrew Goldberg. The ANCA has formally
protested PBS's decision, and established an online WebFax program
through which close to 10,000 individuals have already registered
their protests.

In their letter, the group of legislators urged that, "PBS not
provide a national platform to those who deny the Armenian
Genocide... Despite the Turkish government's concerted and well-
financed effort to obscure and alter history, there is no serious
academic dispute about the Armenian Genocide." The letter closed
by noting that, "Surely, PBS would not consider broadcasting a
documentary on the Holocaust, followed by a panel that included
Holocaust deniers. A commitment to balance does not mandate the
inclusion of opinions that are objectively false."

"We want to thank Representatives Schiff, Radanovich, Pallone, and
Knollenberg for their leadership in giving voice to the growing
Congressional opposition to PBS's deeply flawed decision to provide
public airtime to deniers of the Armenian Genocide," said ANCA
Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Clearly their concerns are
being heard, as more and more PBS affiliates are deciding not to
run this panel discussion."

The full list of signatories is as follows: Gary Ackerman (D-NY),
Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Jerry Costello (D-IL), Anna Eshoo (D-CA),
Bob Filner (D-CA), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Rush
Holt (D-NJ), Steve Israel (D-NY), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Joe
Knollenberg (R-MI), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), James McGovern (D-MA),
Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Michael McNulty (D-NY), Richard Neal (D-
MA), C. L. Butch Otter (R-ID), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Donald Payne
(D-NJ), Collin Peterson (D-MN), George Radanovich (R-CA), Steven
Rothman (D-NJ), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Joe Schwarz (R-MI), Brad
Sherman (D-CA), Mark Souder (R-IN), John Sweeney (R-NY), Edolphus
Towns (D-NY), Diane Watson (D-CA), and Anthony Weiner (D-NY).

In addition to the signatories of this letter, a number of other
legislators undertook individual efforts directly with PBS. Among
these were Senator Boxer (D-CA), who shared her concerns with San
Francisco's KQED, which recently decided not to air the denial
panel. Senator John Ensign (D-CA), the author of the Senate
version of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.Res. 320), similarly
urged Las Vegas PBS affiliate KLVX not to air the panel, stressing
that, "to air this or any other denial would only serve to condone
[the Turkish government's] denial and to ignore the reality of
those atrocious acts that were responsible for the loss of one and
half million lives and for more than half a million survivors being
exiled."

On the House side, individual letters were sent by Rep. Zoe Lofgren
(D-CA) and James Langevin (D-RI). In her letter, Rep. Lofgren
expressed her hope that "PBS will evaluate this planned programming
using the same standard it would employ if deniers were discussing
either [the Armenian or Jewish] Holocaust." Rep. Langevin noted
that, "I imagine that those who deny the existence of the Holocaust
would not be offered the same chance to air their views, and I
question why the Armenian Genocide appears to be held to a
different standard."

On April 4th, Rep. Schiff hosted a Capitol Hill screening of the PBS
documentary, "The Armenian Genocide," to a standing-room only
audience of Members of Congress, Congressional staffers, members of
the media and Armenian American community activists. Rep. Schiff
was joined by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Pallone in offering
remarks at the opening of the documentary, while director Andrew
Goldberg led an insightful question and answer session at the
conclusion of the piece. Among those in attendance were His
Excellency Tatoul Markarian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia
to the U.S. accompanied by Embassy staff, as well as former U.S.
Ambassador to Armenia Michael Lemmon and Pulitzer Prize winning
author Samantha Power.

On March 29th, Rep. Pallone delivered a House floor speech urging
PBS not to air the panel discussion, arguing that he "would not
feel any different about this issue if we were discussing Darfur,
Rwanda or the Nazi Holocaust. Genocide deniers should not have a
forum. The quest for fair and balanced information does not give a
license to propagate false, misleading and offensive information
about historical facts that relate to genocide."

The Washington Post reported on February 16th that, "Thousands of
Armenian Americans are protesting the Public Broadcasting Service's
planned panel-discussion program about Turkey's role in the deaths
of Armenians during and after World War I. The 25-minute program
has generated an outcry because the panel will include two scholars
who deny that 1.5 million Armenian civilians were killed in eastern
Turkey from 1915 to 1920."