Al-Jazeera to cut around 500 jobs

Al-Jazeera to cut around 500 jobs

Doha : 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 network's 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 percent of its global workforce. 

In total, the job cuts will reduce Al-Jazeera's staff numbers from around 5,200 to 4,000.

The cuts come at a time when gas and oil-rich Qatar is readjusting its spending priorities as it grapples with the global slump in energy prices.

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. 

"While our decision is consistent with those being made across the media industry worldwide, it was difficult to make nonetheless."

He added: "However, we are confident it is the right step to ensure the network's long-term competitiveness and reach."

According to one Al-Jazeera official, up to 60 percent of the job cuts -- 300 positions -- could come at the broadcaster's Doha base. 

The official told AFP that job losses could begin to be enforced within the next week, and most would be in non-editorial positions.

Staff members were apparently told on Sunday that Al-Jazeera English would be spared.

One employee at the network, who did not wish to be named, told AFP that the job losses were expected but that had created "a lot of paranoia" among staff as they waited to be officially told.

"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."

Another told AFP that the majority of job losses would be in sections such as IT and that each employee laid-off would receive at least two months' salary.

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.

- 'Shake-up' needed -

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

Qatar has already forecast a budget deficit of more than $12 billion in 2016, its first in fifteen years.

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

The current financial issues are probably the greatest the network has faced since it began broadcasting 20 years ago.

Khaled Hroub, professor of Middle East politics and Arab media at Northwestern University in Qatar, said the broadcaster needed a "shake-up" but the cuts sent out a "bold message".

"I think by this decision, Qatari officials attempt to deliver a bold message to everyone, including their own citizens, that a current policy of huge cuts and vigilant spending is very serious, due to the continuation decline in oil prices.

"Applying these cuts even to Al-Jazeera, one of the most cherished institutions in the country, sends a warning that nobody and no institution could be spared."




Kanye West back on Twitter with live rant

Kanye West back on Twitter with live rant

Rapper Kanye West is back on Twitter and posted a video about mind control to mark his return on the social media platform. West deleted his Twitter and Instagram accounts last week after he was criticised for a rant he gave to the &ld

Federer stunned by Coric

Federer stunned by Coric

Roger Federer admitted that he was lacking “punch” after he was turfed out of the Shanghai Masters semi-finals on Saturday by 13th-seeded Borna Coric. The Croatian stunned the Swiss great 6-4, 6-4 in what was an unusually error-strewn performance from the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

England sink Sri Lanka

England sink Sri Lanka

Captain Eoin Morgan hit 92 decisive runs to guide England to a damp squib win over Sri Lanka with rain halting play for the second straight match in their one-day series. England was awarded a 31- run victory on a faster run rate after a torrential downpour at the Dambulla ground. The tou

Wang downs Svitolina, Muguruza to reach final

Wang downs Svitolina, Muguruza to reach final

China’a number one Wang Qiang staged an outstanding comeback yesterday to defeat former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 7-5 and reach her first Hong Kong Open final. The world number 24 had already seen off Elina Svitolina just hours earlier in a rain-delayed quarterfina

New Angry Birds television series being hatched

New Angry Birds television series being hatched

Producers are laying plans for a new “Angry Birds” television series based on the cult video game, its distributors said Saturday. The game, about a furious flock of multi-colored birds protecting their eggs from a tribe of green pigs, has already inspired a blockbuster movie franchis


Indonesia trade expo chance for businessmen

Indonesia trade expo chance for businessmen

The Indonesian Embassy in collaboration with Indonesia Business Friendship Society and ASEAN Bahrain Council (ABC) is inviting Bahrain businessmen to participate in the Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI), in Jakarta, which is to be held from October 24 to 28. The 33rd Trade Expo Indonesia is one of the b

Imam murder main suspect ‘mentally fit’

Imam murder main suspect ‘mentally fit’

A mental evaluation confirmed that the suspected mosque imam murderer is responsible for his actions, while the High Criminal Court decided that it will issue its ruling on October 31, 2018. The 35-year-old Bangladeshi defendant admitted earlier to murdering Bahraini imam Abduljaleel Hamood befor

Pipeline bombers sentenced

Pipeline bombers sentenced

The High Criminal Court yesterday handed down tough sentences to seven members of a terror cell accused of bombing an oil pipeline in Buri. The court sentenced the first, second, third, fourth and fifth defendants to life in prison and fined them BD 200,000 each. It also sentenced the six

‘We won’t leave Manama, come what may’

‘We won’t leave Manama, come what may’

The labourers and ‘free-visa workers’ living in dilapidated buildings and congested labour accommodations in Manama and Salmaniya area are unwilling to move out of the place as they believe it would affect their livelihood. There has been a huge demand from the part of lawmake

Man steals money to buy dog

Man steals money to buy dog

A young Bahraini stole BD1,700 from his close friend and spent it on buying a dog, car accessories and a phone, the court heard. Being a good friend, the victim would often host the accused in his apartment, say, prosecutors. The accused allegedly stole the money from his friend’s apartment

VIVA primed for further digital transformation

VIVA primed for further digital transformation

VIVA’s way forward will be with a stronger focus on digital transformation and innovation while continuously adapting to the changing customer needs, according to its Chief Executive Officer. The changing times and landscape have called for a shift in focus at VIVA, with the company

When bullies rule schools

When bullies rule schools

A recent study has shockingly revealed that Bahrain has the second highest school bullying rates for elementary stage students globally, stressing that 43 percent of students were bullying victims. The study, conducted by Bahraini educationalist Dr. Mariam Al Qassab, showed that verbal bu

Indian Premier Modi tweets praises for Bahrain
Advertismentskip ad

Indian Premier Modi tweets praises for Bahrain

His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister yesterday retweeted a remark made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing Bahrain as the land of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Mr. Modi had pos

Inspect labour camps

Inspect labour camps

The Cabinet chaired by His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa yesterday gave directives to Labour and Social Development Ministry to cooperate with the Interior Ministry and Ministry of Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning to conduct frequent inspection

Kanye West back on Twitter with live rant

Kanye West back on Twitter with live rant

Rapper Kanye West is back on Twitter and posted a video about mind control to mark his return on the social media platform. West deleted his Twitter and Instagram accounts last week after he was criticised for a rant he gave to the &ld

Fairway enters Bahrain

Fairway enters Bahrain

Fairway Group, a Jersey-based trust, fund and pension services, has kick-started its international operations with the opening of its office in the Kingdom. The move into Bahrain comes on the back of the Fairway Group’s long and