WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Press Club and its non-profit Journalism Institute decried efforts to silence Al Jazeera Media Network, after hosting the director general of the global network, Dr. Mostefa Souag, at a NPC Headliners Luncheon Wednesday, Oct. 2.
The leadership of the National Press Club joined Dr. Souag in his calls for Egypt to release Mahmoud Hussein, an Al Jazeera producer who has now been held in pre-trial detention for more than 650 days pending investigations into what Amnesty International describes as "trumped up charges."
Press Club leaders also called on U.S. lawmakers to drop their recent efforts to require Al Jazeera (which receives funding from the government of Qatar) to register as a foreign agent -- a move that would cost the organization its press credentials and effectively cut off its access to official Washington.
"Al Jazeera has drawn criticism for what some consider to be controversial coverage," said National Press Club President Andrea Edney. "But the job of every news organization is to tell the truth, even if it makes people uncomfortable. We believe it would be wrong and counter-productive to censor a news organization whose work has won wide praise from the international journalism community."
Al Jazeera has won several Emmys, a Peabody and the Overseas Press Association's Edward R. Murrow award, among many other honors.
"News organizations supported by public money can and do produce independent journalism," said NPC Journalism Institute President Barbara Cochran. "The accolades received by Al Jazeera from respected American professional organizations attest to the quality of their news coverage."
Over the last year, Qatar-based Al Jazeera found itself at the center of a diplomatic crisis brewing in the Gulf. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain imposed a trade and travel embargo on Qatar last summer after accusing the small Gulf country of funding terrorism; allegations Qatar has repeatedly denied. The four Arab states issued a list of 13 demands that they say must be met in order to end the blockade; high on the list is the insistence that Qatar shut down the Al Jazeera Media Network.
SOURCE National Press Club