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The Washington DC-based Newseum, a museum dedicated to the media, will be holding a ceremony to honor those journalists who have been killed in the last year in the course of covering the news.
Included in this list of 84 names are Mahmoud Al-Kumi and Hussam Salama.
Back in November 2012 during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF targeted Mahmoud Al-Kumi and Hussam Salama.
The IDF Blog explains that they were:
Hamas operatives and cameramen for Hamas’ Al-Aqsa television network, which regularly features programming that encourages and praises attacks on Israeli civilians. … Palestinian media reported that the two men were indeed Hamas operatives.
Faced with serious accusations of Al-Aqsa TV’s connections to terrorism, the head of the network, Mohammad Thouraya, denied that Al-Aqsa was the voice of Hamas — a hard fact to deny, since the channel is financed and controlled by Hamas — but he did admit that his employees were “all part of the resistance.”
Being “part of the resistance”, in other words, could mean that those carrying a camera during the day could be carrying rockets at night.
Despite heavy criticism, the Newseum is sticking to its guns and has issued a statement which included the following:
Hussam Salama and Mahmoud Al-Kumi were cameramen in a car clearly marked “TV.” The Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers all consider these men journalists killed in the line duty.
As many commentators have pointed out, both Hamas and Al-Aqsa TV are considered to be terrorist entities by the US government. Why should terrorists be protected by virtue of marking “TV” on a car or carrying a camera? A real journalist reports on a conflict and does not actively take part in it. And can a Hamas propaganda outfit that promotes anti-Semitism and violence towards Jews and Israelis really be considered a legitimate media outfit?
HR CEO Joe Hyams commented:
Honoring these two terrorists is an insult to the real journalists who have tragically lost their lives in the cause of news gathering. It is profoundly disturbing that a respected U.S. institution dedicated to documenting the media cannot tell the difference between a genuine journalist and a terrorist.
The Newseum should be ashamed to refer to Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV as a credible media outlet and has set the bar so low as to render the term “media” almost meaningless.
If you agree, send your complaint to the Newseum and let it know that there is a difference between honoring journalists and terrorists – firstname.lastname@example.org