Last week TheBlaze reported that the “Newseum” museum of news and journalism in Washington, D.C. was slated to honor two fallen members of Hamas’ media-propaganda wing, al Aqsa Television. After much backlash, the museum has now retracted its decision to memorialize the cameramen, Hussam Salama and Mahmoud al-Kumi, who were killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza while working for the Hamas-controlled media outlet.
In response, a statement for Newseum reads:
Serious questions have been raised as to whether two of the individuals included on our initial list of journalists who died covering the news this past year were truly journalists or whether they were engaged in terrorist activities.
We take the concerns raised about these two men seriously and have decided to re-evaluate their inclusion as journalists on our memorial wall pending further investigation.
Terrorism has altered the landscape in many areas, including the rules of war and engagement, law, investigative and interrogation techniques, and the detention of enemy combatants. Journalism is no exception.
To further our First Amendment mission to provide a forum where all may speak freely, the Newseum will establish a new initiative to explore differing views on the new questions facing journalism and journalists.
On Monday, May 13, the museum hosted an an annual ceremony to honor newspeople “who died or were killed in the pursuit of news.”
News of the retraction is being warmly received by those who condemned the decision as members of al Aqsa, according to Steve Stalinsky at the Middle East Media and Research Institute, “are continually calling for the destruction of America.”
Clifford May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, commended Newseum.
“I give great credit to the leadership of the Newseum for re-thinking this issue,” he said, “and to the Obama administration for designating Al Aqsa TV as a terrorist organization in 2010.