Al-Hurrah boss quits

The director of a government-funded Arabic language broadcaster resigned after a flurry of congressional allegations that he permitted unfettered access for terrorists. “For reasons I still don’t understand, I have been professionally and personally attacked,” Larry Register wrote Friday in a letter to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which supervises Al-Hurrah. “When this began a few months ago I told you I would fight these smear campaigns as long as Al-Hurrah and the vital mission we are trying to accomplish didn’t suffer. Regretfully, I have come to the conclusion that these attacks, especially those in the Wall Street Journal (which I believe to be unwarranted, unfair and based on falsehoods) are placing Al-Hurrah and its editorial independence in jeopardy.” Register’s letter was first reported by Variety.Congressional appropriators last week refused to grant al-Hurrah $11 million in additional funds because of allegations that it broadcast commentary by leaders of the Hezbollah and Hamas terrorist groups without critical response, and because of its extensive coverage of the Holocaust denial conference in Iran last December. Register, a former CNN newsman, and his bosses, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, defended the coverage, saying it established credibility for the station, which had been barely noticed in the Arab world before Register’s hiring. Al-Hurrah was conceived to compete with Al-Jazeerah and other broadcasters perceived to have an anti-American bias.

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