Qatar's Al Jazeera net­work lay­ing off 500 em­ploy­ees

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Qatar's Al Jazeera broad­cast­ing net­work is lay­ing off about 500 em­ploy­ees or more than 10 per­cent of its staff, it an­nounced on Sun­day re­flect­ing fi­nan­cial pres­sures on the tiny Gulf state due to low global prices for oil and nat­u­ral gas. Most of those af­fected are based at its Doha head­quar­ters, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from Al Jazeera, which is con­trolled by Qatar's royal fam­ily. Be­fore the lay-offs, the net­work had about 4,000 staff, a spokesman said.

Mostefa Souag, Al Jazeera's act­ing di­rec­tor-general, said the net­work needed to con­duct the lay-offs to main­tain its po­si­tion in the in­dus­try "in light of the large-scale changes un­der way in the global me­dia land­scape".

Founded in 1996 as part of Qatar's ef­forts to turn its eco­nomic power into po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence, Al Jazeera won millions of view­ers across the Arab world by of­fer­ing free-wheel­ing, un­cen­sored de­bate rarely seen on other lo­cal broad­cast­ers. But Qatar ap­pears to have toned down its diplo­matic pro­file un­der emir Sheikh Tamim bin Ha­mad al-Thani, who took power in 2013 and has spo­ken about the need for aus­ter­ity at a time of low oil prices. Al Jazeera also has faced in­creas­ing com­pe­ti­tion in its home re­gion, and sus­pi­cion among many gov­ern­ments over the air time it gave to Is­lamist groups in Syria, Libya and else­where.

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