Are You a Journalist? Ask the Treasury Department and Israel
The Newseum, a gargantuan space in Washington, DC, dedicated to educating the public about the workings of journalism, unveiled a new exhibit today: a cutting-edge interactive demonstration of how pressure groups control what gets published.
As of Friday, the Huffington Post's Michael Calderone reports, the museum was planning to add 84 new names to its memorial wall for journalists killed on the job. This morning, at the official presentation, there were 82 names.
The two missing names were those of Hussam Salama and Mahmoud al-Kumi, who were doing camera work for Al-Aqsa TV when they were killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Al-Aqsa is run by Hamas, and so by the transitive property is officially listed by the United States Treasury Department as a terrorist organization. Nevertheless, as Calderone wrote:
[T]he Committee to Project Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers “all consider these men journalists killed in the line of duty.”
Human Rights Watch has also said that the two Al-Aqsa cameramen were journalists and therefore should not have been targeted.
“Just because Israel says a journalist was a fighter or a TV station was a command center does not make it so,” Sarah Lee Whitson, the group's Middle East director, said in a December statement. “Journalists who praise Hamas and TV stations that applaud attacks on Israel may be propagandists, but that does not make them legitimate targets under the laws of war.”
The Newseum itself supplied those citations, on Friday, explaining why it was including the camera crew on the list. Today? The CPJ et al. haven't changed their positions. But the Newseum has, aligning itself with the Weekly Standard, the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies—officers of which, BuzzFeed reported, had let the Newseum know they would "consider pulling their annual policy summit from the venue."