Ridley to head NUJ 'circle' at Al-Jazeera online

Journalists working on the Al-Jazeera website are seeking to establish what is believed to be the first NUJ chapel in the Middle East.

Requests for the union to formally recognise the group – which will be called a “circle” rather than a chapel – are under way.

Seventeen out of the broadcaster’s 20 English-language website journalists based in Doha, Qatar, have joined the union.

“The other three are considering joining,” said former Sunday Express chief reporter Yvonne Ridley, now with Aljazeera.net. Ridley is to be the MoC – Mother of the Circle.

Former BBC journalist Shaista Aziz is the equality officer and ex-Guardian writer Hilary Saunders will be the clerk/secretary. “Three of the top officials are Muslim sisters,” said Ridley, who changed her faith after being held hostage by the Taliban.

The treasurer is Shaheen Chughtai.

By Jean Morgan

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