In the US, a group of congressional Republicans are just hoping that a new law that has been drafted necessitates foreign media outlets to disclose their finances completely. This would help in maintaining clarity in the operations of media channels that are headquartered in the tiny Gulf country of Qatar.
Al Jazeera English is one of the biggest media outlets that operate from Qatar. For over a year, the media channel has been frequently blamed for propagandizing terrorist organizations and for bolstering the interest of the Qatari government patrons’. Well, the new law could most probably seize this practice.
Any media outlet that is retained, controlled, funded partially or fully, or even promotes the interest of a foreign government must get themselves registered with the FCC (Federal Communications
Commission) under the new rules. The new FCC rule embraces much of the same wordings of FARA in order to clarify who must get registered.
A spokesperson of Rep.Lee Zeldin, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, stated that Lee completely supports the move that demands Al Jazeera, to enrol under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
In fact, many congressional Republicans are hopeful that the new law will aid in shedding some light on the operation of Al Jazeera and its links with the Qatari government. One website cited that the Qataris also operate many other outlets, such as Middle East Eye, digital platforms, and so on. Some of the outlets are US-based, whereas some just broadcast from Qatar, some publish overseas and get rebound into Twitter and Facebook by bots. Offering money to lobbyists would require the outlets to register under FARA and record all their actions, so having clarity on how they
Americans are targeted can be maintained. But since Al Jazeera Channel is Qatar’s own media channel, the network and their influence remain cloudy.
Till date, no Qatari media outlet has got them registered with the FCC under the new disclosure regulations.