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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Feeling the squeeze, Al Jazeera trims staff a year into Qatar crisis

The network fired about 500 employees and shut down its U.S. television operations in 2016

A general view of a studio of the TV Channel Al-Jazeera in Doha, Qatar, during a visit of the German President Wulff (not pictured), in Doha, Qatar, 28 February 2011 (reissued 03 June 2018). EPA/WOLFGANG KUMM, FILE 
A general view of a studio of the TV Channel Al-Jazeera in Doha, Qatar, during a visit of the German President Wulff (not pictured), in Doha, Qatar, 28 February 2011 (reissued 03 June 2018). EPA/WOLFGANG KUMM, FILE 

Al Jazeera Media Network eliminated some jobs in its latest round of restructuring, trimming the news channel that is at the heart of a yearlong spat in the oil-rich Arabian Gulf.

Dozens of departments and management positions have been merged or eliminated, including the heads of technical and editorial standards, training, and other roles across 10 divisions, according to a document dated May 24 signed by Al Jazeera’s acting Director-General Mostefa Souag and seen by Bloomberg. It didn’t provide a total number for jobs lost.

An Al Jazeera spokesman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade links with Qatar on June 5 of last year, accusing the country of financing terrorism and having close ties with Iran. Qatar denies the charges of supporting terror. The four countries then issued 13 demands that Qatar must comply with to resolve the rift, among them the closing “Al Jazeera and all its affiliates.”

Al Jazeera has been trimming its workforce for at least three years, part of broader cost-cutting measures in Qatar sparked in part by lower oil prices. The network fired about 500 employees and shut down its U.S. television operations in 2016. Al Jazeera employs about 3,000 people, according to its website.