Following the Newseum’s controversial decision to include two members of the Hamas-linked Al-Aqsa TV, a group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States government, in its annual memorial for fallen journalists, the D.C.-based museum is now reconsidering.
A few minutes ago, the Newseum’s manager of media relations sent out this statement:
Serious questions have been raised as to whether two of the individuals included on our initial list of journalists who died covering the news this past year were truly journalists or whether they were engaged in terrorist activities.
We take the concerns raised about these two men seriously and have decided to re-evaluate their inclusion as journalists on our memorial wall pending further investigation.
Terrorism has altered the landscape in many areas, including the rules of war and engagement, law, investigative and interrogation techniques, and the detention of enemy combatants. Journalism is no exception.
To further our First Amendment mission to provide a forum where all may speak freely, the Newseum will establish a new initiative to explore differing views on the new questions facing journalism and journalists.
The names of the two Al-Aqsa TV ‘journalists’ have also been removed from the Newseum website.
While it should never have come to this, it’s obviously good that the Newseum is thinking twice. Let’s hope those in charge of the re-evaluation remember this: When a terrorist organization is allowed to abuse the protections afforded by a media affiliation, it makes journalists everywhere less safe.
Update: The Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. has released a statement about the Newseum decision, which contains an important point:
The Embassy of Israel appreciates the Newseum’s decision to reconsider the inclusion of members of Hamas, a terrorist organization, on its list of journalists who lost their lives covering the news. The decision taken by the Newseum reflects a core journalistic value that it works to honor: the pursuit of understanding the full story.