A group of influential US lawmakers has called on the Trump administration to get Al Jazeera listed as a “foreign agent”, saying the state-owned media network has “inherently engaged” in political activities and sought to influence public opinion in the US.
The US requires all agencies, individuals and organisations controlled or funded by international governments to be registered with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) which aims to restrict the spread of propaganda inside the US.
In a letter to the US Department of Justice, nine powerful Republican Senators sought information on any steps taken to determine whether the Qatari media network should be registered as a foreign agent.
They wrote: “When the available evidence is taken as a whole, it appears that Al Jazeera’s broadcasts, including AJ+, mirror the policies and preferences of the Qatari government, which, together with the state funding and other indicia of agency, demonstrate that Al Jazeera and its media subsidiaries act as alter egos of the Qatari government in ensuring dissemination of the government’s viewpoints."
The signatories include Senators Tom Cotton, Chuck Grassley, John Cornyn, Todd Young, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and Representatives Mike Johnson and Lee Zeldin.