Al Jazeera Media Network is cutting roughly 500 jobs worldwide, the majority of which are in Qatar. The company calls the latest round of cutbacks “an optimization initiative in connection with the ongoing transformation of the media landscape.”
“Over the past few months, we have carefully evaluated every option available to the Network in order to ensure that we are best positioned in light of the large-scale changes underway in the global media landscape,” said Mostefa Souag, the acting director general of the network.
Souag says the decision is “consistent with those being made across the media industry worldwide,” but was “difficult to make nonetheless.”
This news comes only two weeks before the company shuts down Al Jazeera America, its English language channel in the United States. An estimated 700 additional positions will be eliminated by April 12 when the network goes black.
Al Jazeera America, which is owned by the Qatari government’s ruling al Thani family, went live in Aug. 2013 after acquiring Al Gore’s Current TV for $500 million. The network consistently struggled to attract ratings for its primetime programming, with shows drawing as few as 30,000 viewers.