Al-Jazeera cuts around 500 jobs as part of ‘optimisation initiative’

Friday 25/03/2016
First job losses could begin within next week

DOHA - Broadcaster Al-Jazeera said on Sunday that it is to shed around 500 jobs, most of them at its Qatar headquarters, as part of a \"workforce optimisation initiative\".

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

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

Announcing the job losses in a statement, acting Director General Mostefa Souag said: \"Based on this review, we have embarked on a workforce optimisation initiative that will allow us 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.\"

One Al-Jazeera manager said that the first job losses could begin within the next week, and that most be in non-editorial positions.

The announcement from the broadcaster, which is funded by the Qatari government, comes just two months after it said it would also close Al-Jazeera America in April, with the loss of around 700 jobs.

Before today\'s announcement, the company employed around 4,500 people worldwide.

Al-Jazeera this year celebrates its 20th anniversary.

The latest job losses come as Qatar, a major gas and oil producer, is grappling with a global slump in energy prices.

Qatar has forecast a budget deficit of more than $12 billion in 2016, its first in 15 years.

The emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani spoke in December of \"wasteful spending, overstaffing and a lack of accountability\" across Qatar.