Al Jazeera MD moves to new role

By Caitlin Pike

Wadah Khanfar, managing director of Al Jazeera, has been appointed directorgeneral of the Al Jazeera Satellite Network amid claims of a row between the station’s Arabic and English language channels.

The Al Jazeera Satellite Network has been set up as an umbrella organisation, placing the Al Jazeera Arabic channel and the new Al Jazeera International under one roof. Sheikh Hamad Bin Thamer Al Thani, chairman of the board of directors of Al Jazeera, announced the new entity saying it had been set up with the aim of "promoting the institution’s structure and improving integration".

But a source told Press Gazette the changes have been made as a result of a management row between Al Jazeera Arabic and Al Jazeera International.

"It is widely recognised that people at the Arabic channel have been put out as Al Jazeera International has had loads of money thrown at it," said the source.

"There have been a lot of unhappy people working for the Arabic channel and hostility has arisen from all the goodies that the International channel has had thrown at it. Khanfar’s promotion will mean he is able to assert his supremacy over the two channels."

The Al Jazeera Satellite Network is made up of the Arabic language channel, sports and documentary channels, the Arabic and English news websites, and the new English language Al Jazeera International channel.

Al Jazeera International was originally scheduled to be launched in October last year, but after delays this was then postponed until spring this year. It is now thought that the launch will be delayed further as the channel’s London bureau is still undergoing building works.

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