Bloomberg has unveiled a campaign of incitement and defamation run by the United Arab Emirates against Al Jazeera Media Network in the United States to silence and obstruct its broadcast.
The UAE campaign against Al Jazeera network, which has been going on for more than a year, targets congressional officials, government officials, journalists, research centers and institutions in the digital sector.
Bloomberg said the UAE's campaign of incitement was aimed at showing Al Jazeera as encouraging anti-Semitism and promoting terrorist groups, as well as trying to persuade lawmakers to force the network to register as a foreign agent with the US Department of Justice.
Joe Light says in his report that the UAE campaign includes using a law firm to meet dozens of Congressional staff in Washington, as well as a separate digital information process that includes Twitter accounts and websites controlled by the UAE, who hide their affiliations.
Point of conflict
Al Jazeera, one of the most prominent television networks in the Arab world, is in the midst of a regional conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies.
Al-Jazeera, which is based in Doha, is controversial by providing what critics, legislators and pro-Israel groups say is a platform for terrorist and anti-Israeli propaganda.
Al Jazeera is well received by drawing attention to popular anti-authoritarian movements, with tens of millions of viewers in the Middle East.
Al Jazeera often addresses issues that other Arab networks will not address, including coverage critical of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Arab regimes, while critics say the network rarely makes similar criticisms of the Qatari government.
Interviews and analyzes
Interviews, public records and analysis of pending accounts on Twitter show that the UAE's more than a year-long campaign has targeted Congress, federal agencies and the digital world.
The lobbying and Twitter campaigns are aimed at persuading lawmakers and regulators to force Al Jazeera to register as a "foreign agent" with the US Department of Justice, under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
The report adds that this step would lead to the island's status as a government station as with the network "Russia Today" or "China Daily," which makes it risk the press credentials and the loss of access to some events that may require the network to disclose destinations Connection.
Bloomberg points out that international law firm Aken Strauss & Field LLP, the largest US lobbying firm by revenue, earned more than $ 1.9 million from the UAE in the 12 months to June 2019.
Meetings and contacts
Between January and June, the company lobbyists met, contacted or e-mailed staff from more than 30 House and Congress locations.
Members of these lobbyists also met with President Donald Trump administration officials, journalists, think tanks, and pro-Israel groups.
The report adds that lobbyists argued at the meetings that Al Jazeera promoted anti-Semitism and terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, and accused the Qatari royal family of controlling what Al Jazeera published.
He noted that in September, Twitter suspended more than 4,500 accounts, in what he said was part of a media operation supported by the UAE government.
An archive of those accounts published by Twitter shows hundreds of messages attacking Al Jazeera, including some that specifically push for registration as a foreign agent.