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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 February, 2005, 13:05 GMT
CNN news chief resigns amid row
Eason Jordan during a panel discussion in Davos on 27 January 2004
Jordan has been with CNN for more than 20 years
The CNN's chief news executive Eason Jordan has resigned amid controversy over the death of journalists in Iraq.

Last month, Mr Jordan appeared to suggest that US-led forces had deliberately targeted journalists, killing some.

But in a message to staff on Friday, he said he had not intended to say US forces had acted with ill intent when they had accidentally killed reporters.

The latest journalist to die in Iraq was Abdul Hussein Khazal, 40.

Khazal, a correspondent for US-funded Arabic TV station al-Hurra, was killed by gunmen on Wednesday as he was leaving his house in the southern city of Basra.

His three-year-old son also died in the attack, claimed by a previously unknown rebel group.

Pressure over transcript

Mr Jordan, who has been with CNN for more than 20 years, had been under pressure to explain his remarks, made when he was a member of a discussion panel at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on 27 January.

No transcript has been released of the comments that appeared to suggest that several journalists had been targeted by coalition forces.

The controversy persisted even though Mr Jordan backed off - saying he had meant to distinguish between journalists killed because they were in the wrong place when a bomb went off and those killed by US forces who mistook them for insurgents.

I never meant to imply US forces acted with ill intent when US forces accidentally killed journalists
Eason Jordan

In his memo to staff on Friday, he said he was stepping down to avoid CNN being "unfairly tarnished".

"While my CNN colleagues and my friends in the US military know me well enough to know I have never stated, believed, or suspected that US military forces intended to kill people they knew to be journalists, my comments on this subject in a World Economic Forum panel discussion were not as clear as they should have been," he wrote.

"I never meant to imply US forces acted with ill intent when US forces accidentally killed journalists, and I apologise to anyone who thought I said or believed otherwise," Mr Jordan said.

Thirty-six journalists - and 18 media support workers - have been killed since the beginning of hostilities in Iraq in March 2003, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

At least nine have died as a result of American fire, said Ann Cooper, executive director of the CPJ.


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