A bipartisan group of lawmakers has called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate whether Al Jazeera, the news outlet connected to the Qatari government, should register with the Justice Department as an agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This will have broad implications for the First Amendment, our access to dissenting opinions, and even how the rest of the world views us.
The lawmakers include Representatives Josh Gottheimer, (D-NJ), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), and 16 other House members. Senator Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, also signed the letter to Sessions. The letter claims Al Jazeera “directly undermines American interests” and broadcasts “anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Israel” material. If forced to register, Al Jazeera would join Russian outlets RT and Radio Sputnik, Japan’s Cosmomedia, the Korean Broadcasting System, and China Daily as acknowledged foreign state propaganda outlets. The DOJ has also been asked to look into a range of other Chinese media.
Ironically, the bipartisan request to force Al Jazeera to register comes amid a controversy over the network’s filming of a documentary critical of pro-Israel lobbying in the United States. For that exposé, the network used an undercover operative to secure footage revealing possibly illegal interactions between advocacy groups and lawmakers. Read More