Al Jazeera To Shut Down American Channel | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Al Jazeera To Shut Down American Channel

Posted: Jan 13, 2016 at 10:26 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Al Jazeera America

Less than three years after its debut in the United States (U.S.), cable news channel Al Jazeera America, has announced that it is shutting down by the end of April.

This was announced during the company’s general meeting on Wednesday.

New York Times reported that, Al Jazeera America’s chief executive, Al Anstey, in a memo to the staff, said the “decision by Al Jazeera America’s board is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace.”

As part of Wednesday’s announcement, Mr. Anstey said that after the cable news network shuts down by April 30, Al Jazeera would expand its digital presence in the United States. The expansion would bring new global content into America.

“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. Our commitment to great journalism is unrivaled,” Al Anstey was quoted as saying.

According to NYT, Al Jazeera America went on the air in August 2013 after it bought Al Gore’s Current TV for $500 million, with the promise to be thoughtful and smart, free of the shouting arguments that have defined cable news in the United States over the last decade. But meaningful viewership never came, with prime-time ratings sometimes struggling to exceed 30,000 viewers.

To make matters worse, NYT reports that the newsroom was hit with turmoil last year when staff members complained bitterly of a culture of fear. There was an exodus of top executives, along with a pair of lawsuits from former employees that included complaints about sexism and anti-Semitism at the news channel.

Similarly, Al Jazeera America has not been free of controversy in recent months, as the news station’s general counsel, David W. Harleston, was suspended following a report in The New York Times that he did not appear to be licensed to practice law In November.