Al Jazeera to Cut 500 Jobs Worldwide as Qatar Continues to Suffer From Slumping Oil Prices

By Staff Writer

Mar 28, 2016 09:44 AM EDT

Al Jazeera Media Network announced a 500 job cuts as the Qatar-based media company aims to optimize the workforce. The job reduction will affect the company globally, but the majority of job cuts will be in its base in Qatar.

On an official statement, Al Jazeera mentioned the change as a part of an optimization plan that follows 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 the light of the large scale changes underway in the global media landscape," said the company's acting director general Mostefa Souag.

Mr. Souag then stated that the review has brought them to embark on a workforce optimization initiative. He noted how the job cuts will allow the company evolve its business operation and maintain its "high quality, independent and hard-hitting journalism around the world". The decision will affect 500 jobs, which is more than 10 percent of the company's global workforce of 4,500.

Al Jazeera was established in 1996 as the Arab world's first independent news channel. Since then, the company has added new channels and services to more than 70 bureaus around the world. The media network also has an English-language channel launched in 2006. However, the company has previously terminated its American cable news channel after consistently low ratings, as reported by The Guardian.

The pressure faced by Al Jazeera could be attributed to the slump in oil prices which has been valued less than $40 a barrel from more than $100 in 2014, as reported by ABC News. Qatar, as a major energy producer, is facing difficulties in financial, and the authorities have hiked subsidized gasoline prices by at least 30 percent earlier this year. The country expects to run a budget deficit of more than $12 billion this year, even with cutbacks in government spending.

As an impact of the slumping crude oil prices, several Qatari companies have cut jobs in recent months. Especially in the energy sector and state-funded institutions, many employees in Qatar have lost their jobs. Al Jazeera is partly state-funded and partly funded by the House of Thani, the ruling family of Qatar.

Al Jazeera has announced its optimization plan that would result in 500 job cuts around its bureaus worldwide. Many Qatari companies are facing difficulties amid the drop in crude oil prices as the country's main sector. The reduction will affect 10 percent of Al Jazeera Media Network's global workforce. 

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