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Eight members of Congress: Aljazeera must register as a foreign agent


Eight members of Congress including the chairman of Senate financial committee wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr, asking him to designate Aljazeera as a foreign agent.

The letter states: “Al Jazeera is not only a foreign principal, but it is also owned by a foreign principal – the government of Qatar. Several members of the ruling family of Qatar have held senior positions at Al Jazeera: Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al-Thani, a member of the ruling family of Qatar, is the Chairman of Al Jazeera; Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Hamad Al-Thani is the CEO of Qatar Media Corporation and a Board Member of Al Jazeera; Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani served as the Director General of Al Jazeera from 2011 until June 2013.”

The signatories noted that several members of Qatar royalty have held an important position in this network, and the network regularly promote and mirror the viewpoints of the Qatari government, which is an ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The letter specifically mentions the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas on Aljazeera. Also, AJ+ (Aljazeera English) seems to regularly support “Anti-American and Anti-Israeli positions.”

The congressmen conclude: “It appears that Al Jazeera’s broadcasts, including AJ+, mirror the policies and preferences of the Qatari government, which, together with the state funding and other indicia of agency, demonstrate that Al Jazeera and its media subsidiaries act as alter egos of the Qatari government in ensuring dissemination of the government’s viewpoints,” and consequently, Al Jazeera should be required to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Aljazeera disputes this claim and says the Qatari government has no influence on the content, and receiving public funding makes Aljazeera no different to BBC, but did not elaborate on the presence of Qatari royalty in the channel.

In the end, the letter asks several questions from the Department of Justice, including “What actions have the DOJ taken to assess whether Al Jazeera or its employees should register under FARA for work on behalf of the Qatari government?” and “Please explain why the DOJ has not required Al Jazeera or its employees to register under FARA”.

Security Studies Group Senior Vice President David Reaboi recently wrote about how AJ+ brands itself as a progressive channel in English while Al Jazeera’s Arabic channel “pushes a stream of vile, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.” Al Jazeera AT Arabic’s Twitter account tweeted out a Holocaust-denying video, which Reaboi wrote was an example of Al Jazeera’s mask slipping.


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