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conflict grounds our higher flyers

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    Conflict grounds our higher flyers
    By Jane Schulze and Teresa Ooi
    March 21, 2003
    THE outbreak of war in the Gulf has curbed travel plans for executives of Australia's international companies – except television programmers who make the call on broadcasting the war. They're all overseas.

    Executives at Lend Lease, AMP and Leighton Holdings are among those who've been warned to stay home.

    Lend Lease has cancelled all non-essential overseas travel, telling staff that, for security reasons, all non-essential business travel to Asia must be approved by the regional chief executive.

    Several managers have already cancelled trips to Asia.

    AMP has also slapped a "short-term moratorium" on all business travel to the Middle East, North Africa, Indonesia and the Philippines. For security reasons, travel to the UK and the US should also be deferred unless it was critical, a company spokesman said.

    But as one of the world's biggest TV events unfolds, most of Australia's TV chiefs are out of the country for an annual TV programming expo. Nine deputy chief executive David Gyngell and programming chief Michael Healy are flying to France for the event, as are Seven's programming chiefs Tim Worner, Chris O'Mara and John Stephens.

    Ten TV chief John McAlpine and programmer David Mott are going, too.

    Publishing & Broadcasting chief executive Peter Yates and chief financial officer Geoff Kleemann are in London to brief analysts on the latest results.

    All this as the networks have to decide when to switch to blanket war coverage or provide viewers with other news or planned broadcasts such as Nine's cricket coverage.

    The war has also delayed parliamentary debate on possible changes to cross-media and foreign ownership rules.

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