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June 10, 2007

Not One Dime for Al-Hurra

Nita Lowey Hurra.jpe
Congresswoman Nita Lowey's subcommittee called for an "immediate" investigation of the U.S.-funded Arabic network

Investigative reporter Joel Mowbray has relentlessly exposed how Larry Register's mismanagement of Al-Hurra has turned the U.S. funded Arab language network into yet another platform for anti-American, anti-Jewish, anti-Israel invective. Writing in Powerline blog June 6, Mowbray reports on the June 5 congressional hearing:

Dealing a sharp blow to embattled Al Hurra news director Larry Register, a powerful Congressional panel yesterday expressed its dissatisfaction with the "new" Al Hurra in the strongest possible terms: It withheld millions in funding.

Al Hurra had asked for -- with the strong support of Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes -- an additional $11.1 million in funding over fiscal year 2007 levels for new programming. The network didn't get one dime of it.
By the time the appropriations process winds its way through Congress, the requested funding could be restored -- but that most likely could happen only if Register is fired.

And if the stars align, Register could be gone within a week.

As recently as late last week, officials at Al Hurra and at the network's oversight panel, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), were expressing confidence internally that they were going to receive a double-digit percentage increase in funding over the current fiscal year. Word around the BBG and Al-Hurra was that Foreign Operations Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) was in their camp.

Turns out she wasn't.

Though it didn't mention him by name, the Lowey-led subcommittee explained that Register's determination to turn Al Hurra into a platform for Islamic terrorists and Holocaust deniers was the reason the network's funding was being frozen:

"The Committee is deeply troubled by several programming decisions at Alhurra television during the period [of] Novemeber 2006 through March 2007. On more than one occasion, the network aired live, and without opposing comment, statements by Hezbollah and Hamas leaders that were hateful, anti-American, and anti-Israel. The Network's coverage of the Holocaust Denial Conference also evidenced a lack of journalistic judgment and sensitivity. While just a portion of the overall broadcast program, these incidents call into question the management and overall journalistic philosophy of the Network's leadership."

And there was even more good news. Rep. Lowey's subcommittee also "requested" substantive actions to fix Al Hurra and restore public confidence through dramatically increased transparency. . .

Posted by TS at June 10, 2007 03:35 AM


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