Joel Mowbray (firstname.lastname@example.org) files the second of his reports with us this morning, following up on his investigation of the government-funded Al Hurra television netowrk. Joel writes:
For two months, the people charged with overseeing Al Hurra have stressed that airing interviews with and speeches from terrorists were “mistakes,” all the while pledging that the network would once again be committed to promoting freedom and democracy, not Islamic terrorists and Holocaust deniers.
Now it seems that a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Joaquin Blaya, is advocating that the U.S. taxpayer-funded network should air terrorists’ speeches in the name of freedom of the press.
In an interview with the New York Times, Blaya went so far as to assert that not giving air time to Islamic terrorists would be tantamount to censorship. He even implied that it would be hypocritical of the U.S. “to promote American values like democracy and a free press” while not broadcasting terrorists’ propaganda.
This is the first indication Blaya has given that he supports the controversial broadcast decisions of Al-Hurra’s embattled news director Larry Register, who has aired speeches from the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah, and personally ordered an interview with an “ex” al Qaeda operative who said that 9/11 brought him joy because it “rubbed America’s nose in the dust.”
Here’s the relevant section from the Times article:
Mr. Blaya also contended in an interview on Wednesday that Al Hurra would lose all credibility if it did not give air time to people who disagree with American policy. He said that complaints about air time for Mr. Haniya were unjustified because he legitimately holds the post of Palestinian prime minister.
Mr. Blaya also said it was ironic that the government was seeking to promote American values like democracy and a free press while at the same time trying to censor what is shown in the station.