Al Jazeera America to Shut Down by April; Digital Services Expansion on the Cards

Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera America is going to shut down by  April this year. It went on air in 2013 and the ruling family of Qatar partly funds it. The reasons behind the decision are stated as low ratings, lack of advertisers and operational problems.

A statement issued by the network explained, “while Al Jazeera America built a loyal audience across the U.S. and increasingly was recognized as an important new voice in television news, the economic landscape of the media environment has driven its strategic decision to wind down its operations and conclude its service”

According to The New York Times, Al Jazeera America’s chief executive Al Anstey had written a memo to his staff. In the memo he stated, “I know the closure of AJAM will be a massive disappointment for everyone here who has worked tirelessly for our long term future. The decision that has been made is in no way because AJAM has done anything but a great job”.

Anstey added that the decision was driven by the fact that the channel’s business model was not sustainable in the light of economic challenges in the US media market place. The memo also affirms that as many as 700 staff could lose their jobs because of the wind down.

Mostefa Souag, acting director general of Al Jazeera Media network, wrote that concluding the services of Al Jazeera America would not have any impact on other businesses or operations of the network.

Experts stated various reasons for  Al Jazeera’s decision to wind down.  One of the main reasons of its failure is stated as its focus on domestic news. While people expected wide coverage of Middle East and overseas from AJAM, it covered more news on domestic front. Some critics also criticized the channel for being anti-western and anti-semitic bias.

As reported by The New York Times, Two years after its inception, neither the rating nor the profits came. Moreover, there was a deep dysfunction in management in the newsroom, which was the result of an exodus of top executives.

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