Gop Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) introduced a bill that will ensure state-owned media corporations operating on Capitol Hill conform to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and other relevant laws that guide the U.S.
BREAKING: @RepJackBergman just introduced a bill to make it MANDATORY for ALL Foreign Government Journalists to have to REGISTER & DISCLOSE with the U.S. Government.
*cough* Qatar *cough*
Why isn't this already the law??https://t.co/fsU1W3PS5A pic.twitter.com/7wwl5yRmIU
— ERIK FINMAN (@erikfinman) March 2, 2023
Bergman, who currently chairs the House Armed Services Intelligence and Special Operations Subcommittee, penned a letter to the House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in February.
His letter explicitly referred to Qatar’s Al Jazeera Media Network. Although the media house is also headquartered in Washington and London, Bergman believes they shouldn’t be allowed to operate in Capitol Hill if they are not registered under FARA.
The Daily Wire reported that Bergman and two other GOP colleagues urged McCarthy to immediately suspend the press credentials for the Al Jazeera Media Network. He also calls for the suspension to be upheld until Qatar agrees to adhere to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and other U.S. laws.
According to the introduced bill, Bergman is concerned with countries like China, Russia and Qatar, who have a history of spying on Americans. He reckoned that reporters from state-owned media outlets from those countries should not have their access to lawmakers minimized.
Bergman’s letter also noted that foreign journalists with press credentials are unequal to U.S. media outlets. To back up his claims, he cited Al Jazeera’s 136 employees with press credentials as being irrational compared to The New York Times’ 82 employees with similar access.
Until state-sponsored media outlets, respect our laws by registering under FARA, we cannot allow them unfettered access to the halls of Congress.
Today, I introduced legislation to address this issue —> https://t.co/gdbJxGQWXv
— Rep. Jack Bergman (@RepJackBergman) March 1, 2023
“Credentialed members of the House and Senate galleries enjoy unparalleled access to the U.S. Capitol, as well as to Senators, Members of Congress, and staffers,” Bergman’s letter read. “While this access is necessary for the media to provide accurate reporting to the American public, it is also the kind of access coveted by foreign powers seeking sensitive information from inside Congress.”
FARA was enacted in 1938. According to its provisions, it requires agents of foreign principals who are engaged in political activities or other activities specified under the statute to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities.