APTN offers Saddam Hussein exclusive to Indian news channels

MUMBAI: Indian news television channels wanting to give their viewers a peek at whom the US calls the monster from Baghdad can do so now. Courtesy Associated Press Television News (APTN), the international video arm of the Associated Press.

APTN is offering the telecast rights to anyone wanting to air the recent interview of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by former British politician Tony Benn in Baghdad. The news agency has the international exclusive distribution rights of the interview.

An APTN spokesperson has asked broadcasters who want to use the footage to contact APTN's library or

APTN distributed the interview with Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader's first interview since the 1991 Gulf War, at 5 pm - 5:40 pm GMT (repeated at 7:00 pm - 7:40 pm GMT) on Tuesday, 4 February 2003. In the UK, Channel 4 aired Tony Benn's interviews with Hussein from 7 pm (GMT) onwards on 4 February 2003.

The network aired around 25 minutes of the hour-long interview during Channel 4 News which was anchored by Jon Snow.

It is understood that BBC was originally planning to buy the interview for broadcast on BBC Two, however talks with the Arab Television Network, the company which owns the rights to the piece, fell through after the corporation refused to pay more than the bare production costs.

Channel 4 refused to confirm how much it had paid for the interview -- the first the dictator has given to a Westerner in 12 years -- but sources pointed towards a five-figure sum.

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