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Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera 'workforce optimisation initiative' sees 500 job cuts

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By Tony Connelly, Sports Marketing Reporter

March 28, 2016 | 3 min read

AL Jazeera Media has announced that plans to cut 500 jobs worldwide, weeks after it confirmed the closure of its American cable channel.

Al Jazeera job cuts

The layoffs will see around 10 per cent of the Qatari state backed media group's global staff lose their jobs however the majority of the cuts would be affect those at its headquarters in the Qatar capital of Doha.

Acting general director Mostefa Souag said the "difficult" decision was the result of the changing media landscape.

A statement from Al Jazeera described the latest move as "a workforce optimisation initiative" in response to "the ongoing transformation of the media landscape".

Souag said: "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 move follows on from a number of oil-rich Persian Gulf countries including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates implementing economic reforms as a means of coping with the sharp drop in oil revenues.

In September 2015 the group admitted that the fall in oil price forced it to cut almost a quarter of its workforce worldwide which affected an estimated 800 staff.

Part of the media group's economic reform plans included the recent decision to close its Al Jazeera America cable channel. The company announced in January that it would close the channel by 30 April after having invested around $2bn in its efforts to break into the US cable market.

Despite the layoffs, the company said it hoped to ensure its “long-term competitiveness and reach".

Al Jazeera employs around 4,500 people globally and has a staff presence in 70 cities around the world. It is unclear which jobs will be cut, and whether the layoffs will impact its newsroom.

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