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Al Jazeera at the Newseum

Made-in-Qatar media, live from a studio in Washington.

Jul 1, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 40 • By CLAUDIA ROSETT
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Al Jazeera is not the only topic on which the Newseum has made troubling decisions lately. This spring, the Newseum included in its memorial to fallen journalists the names of two men killed in Gaza last year while working under the auspices of Al Aqsa Television, Mahmoud al-Kumi and Hussam Salama. Al Aqsa TV has been blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury since 2010 as “financed and controlled by Hamas.” Treasury noted that Al Aqsa “airs programs and music videos designed to recruit children to become Hamas armed fighters and suicide bombers upon reaching adulthood.”

When the Hamas names provoked protest, the Newseum erased them from its online roster of fallen journalists, but not from its in-house exhibit. They remain etched in the glass panels of the memorial, alongside such names as Daniel Pearl. Nearby is a quote from Hillary Clinton, “The men and women of this memorial are truly democracy’s heroes.”

Honoring dead Hamas terrorists
is the kind of gesture that might please the emir of Qatar, who last October traveled to Gaza to honor the living leaders of Hamas by promising them $400 million in aid. But it seems a strange way of educating the public in the value of a free press. So does a statement, in reply to my questions, from Newseum spokesman Thompson: “Free speech includes the right to not answer questions.”

Claudia Rosett is journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and heads its investigative reporting project.

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