Al Jazeera Reportedly Flouting US Foreign Policy Regulations

A report obtained by the Jewish TV Channel reveals serious and potentially controversial questions related to the Al Jazeera Media Network’s modus operandi through its Qatar association, and their subsequent status in the United States of America.

The report is courtesy of the Zachor Legal Organization in Israel

For decades, the Al Jazeera Media Network has served as a platform for radical Islamic terror groups to disseminate their ideology and promote their agenda to a broad audience. This includes the United States’ geopolitical adversaries, such as officials in the Iranian regime, as well as leaders of US-designated terrorist organizations Al Qaeda and Hamas (the latter being the Gaza-based offshoot of the global Muslim Brotherhood).

For many years, Muslim Brotherhood religious leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi had a weekly program on Al Jazeera Arabic, where he advocated for terrorist attacks on US soldiers in Iraq, promoted Jihad against the West, and praised the Holocaust and attacks on Israeli civilians. He proclaimed during two sermons broadcast on Al Jazeera that Allah used Adolf Hitler to inflict the Holocaust upon the Jews as “divine punishment” and praised him for “putting [Jews] in their place.” He also expressed hope that Allah will send him to Israel before he dies to become a martyr, stating, “I will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus, I will seal my life with martyrdom.”

Established in Qatar in 1996, Al Jazeera (AJ) is a media news network that describes itself as an “independent news organization funded in part by the Qatari government.” Al Jazeera Plus (AJ+) has established itself as a market leader in sharing Middle East news content.

The network has an extensive global reach, broadcasting to an estimated 430 million households in over 150 countries.  AJ+, a digital content brand owned by Al Jazeera, is based in Washington D.C. and produces shorter, more digestible content in video form in English, Spanish, French, and Arabic, mainly on topics related to US politics and geared towards a younger audience. AJ+ operates exclusively online and maintains accounts on all major social media platforms, with followers numbering in the millions. Since its official inception in 2014, its content has been collectively viewed over 17 billion times. AJ+ rarely publicly acknowledges its connection to Al Jazeera or Qatar and projects the image of a modern, socially progressive digital news brand.

This starkly contrasts with the Qatari government’s positions on various social issues, which is likely why the name AJ+ was chosen – to obscure the brand’s connection to the Islamic monarchy. Accordingly, its content focuses on several broad topics fraught with social tension in contemporary American society, including racism, sexism, immigration, LGBTQ+ rights, and addressing historical injustices contested in the US. The reason for this curious discrepancy, as this report will demonstrate, is that the Qatari government effectively uses AJ+ as a tool to influence the American public and promote its agenda by exacerbating social and cultural rifts within American society, ultimately delegitimizing and tarnishing the image of the United States and its key allies. Due to AJ+’s explicit links to Qatar and the nature of the content it disseminates, the US Department of Justice issued an official order in September 2020 for AJ+ to register as a foreign entity under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Yet, as of March 2023, AJ+ has failed to register, despite repeated requests by lawmakers that the DOJ compel it to do so.

The Al Jazeera Media Network (AJMN) is owned, funded, and controlled by the government of Qatar, and it is used to promote Qatar’s foreign policy. However, neither AJMN nor its subsidiaries are registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).  In September 2020, the Department of Justice stated that “AJMN is an agent of the Government of Qatar under FARA’’ because “ [it] and its affiliates are controlled and funded by the Government of Qatar.” The DOJ further explained that the “Government of Qatar has ultimate authority through its control of AJMN’s Board of Directors and AJMN’s budget [and] exercises ultimate control of AJMN.”  The DOJ’s letter explicitly ordered one of AJMN’s subsidiaries, the Washington D.C.-based AJ+, to register under FARA.  Despite the clear findings of the DOJ, Al Jazeera and its subsidiaries continue to flout U.S. law by failing to register under FARA. Both Democrats and Republicans have also expressed significant concerns regarding Al Jazeera’s content and failure to register under FARA. Congressional letters regarding Al Jazeera were sent to the DOJ in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Over the past decade, Al Jazeera has carried out a unique two-track approach: 1) using its legacy TV networks, Al Jazeera International and Al Jazeera English, to promote and/or whitewash the Muslim Brotherhood and an array of Islamic terrorist groups, such as Nusra Front (formerly known as al Qaeda of Syria), the Taliban, Hamas, and Hezbollah; and 2) using its online/social media subsidiary, AJ+, to aggressively court young, progressive Americans by criticizing both U.S. foreign and domestic policies from the Left.  AJ+ was launched by AJMN in 2014 as a subsidiary that focuses on targeting teenagers and young adults, with its content only available online and on social media. AJ+ rarely acknowledges that it is owned and controlled by the State of Qatar, whose laws are based on Islamic Shari’a law and where homosexuality is a crime. The name AJ+ was likely chosen to obfuscate its direct connection to Qatar.

A content analysis of AJ+ reveals:

The Qatar-owned brand appears to function in a manner resembling a propaganda outlet by promoting anti-American, antiWest, anti- Israel, divisive, and polarizing content designed to intensify divisions within the US.

The report then continues to offer a potential solution to its operating status in the United States.

AJ+ has considerable influence within the United States, with millions of followers on major social media platforms and over 17 billion collective views of its content. AJ+ aims to influence young Americans through social media by publishing short form videos that take socially progressive positions on controversial issues, in stark contrast to the Qatari government’s policies. Whereas the most high-profile AJMN subsidiaries, Al Jazeera International and Al Jazeera English, have somewhat limited influence inside the U.S., AJ+ successfully reaches millions of Americans – and its content is not labeled as being a product of Qatari propaganda. FARA requires the clear labeling of “Informational Materials.” As such, AJMN and / or AJ+ registering under FARA – and then complying with it – would enhance transparency to the American public regarding the propagandistic nature and purpose of Al Jazeera and AJ+. Similarly, social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and others, should follow YouTube’s lead and add a “state-affiliated media” disclaimer to AJ+’s accounts and posts.

In summary, based on the report, JTVC understands that Al Jazeera is acting as a vehicle for Qatari propaganda and uses its subsidiary AJ+ to disseminate that content from its base in the United States. Furthermore, it has failed to fully comply with US regulations to ensure it is not being used to share foreign interests from its base on American soil.

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