News director quits Arab language network

US-funded network official and editorial leader of Al-Hurra TV accused of airing anti-Israeli propaganda.

Alhurra 88 (photo credit: )
Alhurra 88
(photo credit: )
The news director of a US-funded Arab language satellite television network that was accused of airing anti-Israeli propaganda has resigned. Larry Register, vice president of news for the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and editorial leader of Al-Hurra Television, claimed in a resignation letter Friday that he was the victim of a smear campaign. Register, a former producer at CNN, joined Al-Hurra in October 2006. He resigned not long after the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which funds the station, sought a review to examine Al-Hurra's programming. An Al-Hurra broadcast last December included a lengthy speech by Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah that the network later said was not screened for anti-Israel content in advance because no supervisor spoke Arabic. The network was criticized by both Republicans and Democrats during a congressional hearing last month. Al-Hurra, which began broadcasting in February 2004, was created in an effort to counter a perceived anti-US bias among Arab news sources in the Middle East. The Broadcasting Board of Governors also operates Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. Board member Joaquin Blaya, in a statement announcing the resignation, said Register brought to the position a "wealth of experience as a broadcast journalist with extensive knowledge of the Middle East." Register will be replaced by Daniel Nassif, a "native Arabic speaker" who is news director of the broadcasting network's Radio Sawa, according to Blaya. Register's letter of resignation, dated Friday, said he had been "professionally and personally attacked" in the media. "In good conscience I cannot allow the personal vendettas and attacks to damage the credibility of MBN," he wrote.