Congressman Wants This Arab Network's Capitol Press Credentials Yanked

Adam Kredo at the Washington Free Beacon reported Congressman Jack Bergman, a Republican from Michigan, wrote a letter to the congressional radio and television gallery demanding "the immediate suspension of press credentials" for Al-Jazeera, which is a press arm of the government of Qatar.

On June 4, Bergman wrote an op-ed in the Washington Examiner noting Al-Jazeera was recently pressed by the Federal Communications Commission to file a report disclosing its relationship to its foreign principal, in keeping with last year’s National Defense Authorization Act. The sole owner and shareholder of the parent company, Al Jazeera International, is  “The Emir of the State of Qatar,” listed explicitly in the legal documents as “Head of State.”

Other foreign-owned media outlets such as Russia's RT had their press credentials revoked in 2017 over similar concerns regarding the dissemination of state-approved propaganda in the United States. One would think with all the liberal-media fulmination against foreign interference in our political system, this would be non-controversial. 

Bergman told the Free Beacon that more should be done to prevent media outlets owned by foreign government to disseminate state-sanctioned propaganda in America, like registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

"In late 2017, the Congressional Press Office revoked the credentials to Russia’s state-owned broadcast and internet network, Russia Today," Bergman said. "The network had been forced to acknowledge its relationship with its foreign principal and, rightly, registered under FARA. In a letter to RT, the Press Office made clear that its credentialing rules ‘state clearly that news credentials may not be issued to any applicant employed by ‘any foreign government or representative thereof.'"

"When it came to RT, the Press Office made the right call," Bergman said. "It was misusing our free press in order to broadcast a foreign state's propaganda into this country. Al Jazeera may have more expensive lawyers, and teams of lobbyists, but it is no different. Clever accounting and legal tricks don't hide the fact that Al Jazeera is an appendage of Qatar."

Al-Jazeera claims it has "editorial independence," and tries to compare itself to government-owned public broadcasters in Britain, Canada, and Germany: 

"Al Jazeera Media Network, its channels and its platforms operate with editorial independence while receiving public funding and, in this respect, are similar to most global media organizations, including the BBC, CBC, and Deutsche Welle," the outlet said. "AJMN is a Private Foundation for Public Benefit under Qatari law; it is not owned by Qatar, and its reporting is not directed or controlled by the Qatari government nor does it reflect any government viewpoint. Therefore, FARA registration is not required."

This is the kind of lingo that public broadcasters use in America, as well. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting pretends to be a private foundation owned by the American people. At least it's obvious that PBS and NPR are not state broadcasters for President Trump. It looked more like that under Obama.

Middle East Government & Press
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