Mar 29, 2016

    Al-Jazeera media network to slash 500 jobs


    QATAR'S state-funded broadcaster Al-Jazeera on Sunday announced a fresh round of job cuts, with around 500 positions being lost, most of them at the Doha headquarters.

    On top of existing losses of 700 jobs following an announcement earlier this year that Al-Jazeera America is to close, it means the broadcaster is set to shed more than 20 per cent of its global workforce.

    In total, the job cuts will reduce overall staff numbers from around 5,200 to 4,000.

    Al-Jazeera said on Sunday that after a management review, it was "expected that around 500 positions worldwide will be impacted, the majority of which are in Qatar".

    Announcing the job losses in a statement, acting director-general Mostefa Souag said the cuts would allow the network "to evolve our business operation, in order to maintain a leading position and continue our recognised commitment to high quality, independent and hard-hitting journalism around the world".

    One employee at the network who did not wish to be named, told Agence France-Presse that the job losses were expected but that had created "a lot of paranoia".

    "We have been waiting for this announcement. Since the middle of January, we were told next week, then next week, there was a lot of speculation."

    Al-Jazeera media network broadcasts in several languages. It has around 80 bureaus worldwide and Al-Jazeera English reaches 270 million homes every day, says the broadcaster.

    Al-Jazeera Arabic is watched by 27 million viewers daily while its online channel AJ+ has received some 1.2 billion views since launching last September.

    The latest retrenchments come at a time when Qatar, a major gas and oil producer, has seen its revenues drop sharply, as energy prices nosedived.

    In addition, the emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani warned last December of "wasteful spending, overstaffing and a lack of accountability" across Qatar.