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Evolving E-Mail Explanations

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Ahmad Amin May, 2007: Officials at Alhurra and its oversight board tell Congress that a reporter who broadcast a report questioning the existence of the Holocaust had been fired. Deidre Kline, spokeswoman for Alhurra, offers several explanations for why the reporter, Ahmad Amin, remained on the payroll of Radio Sawa for more than a year after that testimony.

June 10: ProPublica asks Kline who paid Amin’s salary.

June 11: Kline responds that Amin’s Alhurra reports were paid for by Associated Press Television News, known as APTN.

June 13: ProPublica asks Kline exactly when Amin came off the network’s payroll, and whether he had continued to work for Radio Sawa.

June 17: Kline acknowledges that Middle East Broadcasting Network, the manager of Alhurra and Radio Sawa, had continued to employ Amin through a contract with the radio station.

In the Spring of 2007, after reviewing the deplorable report on the Holocaust Denial Commission, the President of MBN directed the Vice President for Network News (then Larry Register) to sever MBN’s relationship with the reporter in Tehran responsible for the breach of MBN’s journalistic standards and practices.

This reporter, providing reports for Alhurra through APTN, had also been filing reports for Radio Sawa through a separate contract. As we have subsequently learned, Mr. Register never conveyed the President’s order to then Radio Sawa News Director Daniel Nassif. The President was informed recently by the current Vice President for Network News (Mr. Nassif) that the reporter’s relationship with Radio Sawa had not been terminated. The President, appalled by the lack of follow-through despite his direction last Spring, immediately ordered termination of the contract. The contract has been terminated and MBN is no longer using him in any capacity.

June 19: Kline sends the following clarification:

MBN’s President directed the reporter to be fired last Spring, the Tehran reporter did not file a report for Alhurra since that time. The President was not informed that there was a second contract with Radio Sawa until last week. The President immediately ordered the termination of that contract. Danny (Nassif) was aware that the Tehran reporter was continuing to file reports for Radio Sawa. Danny has said that Larry (Register) did not direct him to terminate the Tehran reporter’s contract.

Later in the day, Kline sends a second e-mail regarding the congressional testimony of Brian Conniff, the president of MBN, and Joaquin Blaya, a member of the board overseeing the network:

When Brian and Joaquin spoke before Congress they were talking specifically about Alhurra. There was no mention of Sawa during the hearings and it would be incorrect to imply otherwise.

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