Al Jazeera Media Network laying off 500 employees worldwide

Al Jazeera Media Network, the Qatar-based multinational multimedia conglomerate, announced that it is laying off 500 employees worldwide.

Mostefa Souag, acting director general of the media network, said that the decision to cut jobs was “difficult”, but stressed that the company is “confident it is the right step”.

“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 Mr Souag.

AL Jazeera Media Network newsroom.

“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.”

Mr Souag added: “While our decision is consistent with those being made across the media industry worldwide, it was difficult to make nonetheless.

“However, we are confident it is the right step to ensure the Network’s long-term competitiveness and reach.”

The media network, founded in 1996, has a total of 82 bureaus around the world that are shared between the network’s channels and operations. It was the first independent news channel in the Arab world dedicated to providing comprehensive news and live debate.

Al Jazeera described the move as “a workforce optimisation initiative” in response to “the ongoing transformation of the media landscape”.

Job cuts follow decision to shut down American version of Al Jazeera

Earlier this year it was announced that Al Jazeera America would cease operations on April because of the “economic landscape”. The decision to shut down the network was made despite Al Jazeera investing a significant amount in the market.

CEO Al Anstey said the business model was “simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges”.