Reasons behind Jazeera Arabic manager’s resignation



Thu, 10 May 2018 - 04:30 GMT


Thu, 10 May 2018 - 04:30 GMT

Yasser Abu-Hilalah – Facebook page

Yasser Abu-Hilalah – Facebook page

CAIRO – 10 May 2018: Yasser Abu-Hilalah announced Thursday resigning from his seat as the general manager of Qatari Al-Jazeera Arabic.

Former deputy head of Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, Ahmed Salem al-Yafei, succeeded Hilalah.

In a statement obtained by Jordanian Jo24, Hilalah wrote that his resignation comes as part of his plan to serve as the channel’s manager for four years. Hilalah was declared the general manager of the channel in July, 2014.

He said that change and renewal is an attitude adopted by successful organizations, adding that the number of years does not count; what matters is the success achieved.

Hilalah said that the “blockade” year was the cruelest the channel has witnessed along the past four years, referring to the Arab Quartet boycott of Qatar which has started on June 5, 2017.

FILE - Photo circulated on social media of Hilalah carrying a machine gun

Qatar has been hit by its biggest diplomatic crisis in years after multiple Arab nations, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, cut ties with the emirate, accusing it of destabilizing the region with its support for Islamist groups.

The Arab quartet halted all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, and withdrew their diplomats and ambassadors from the country. The Arab quartet issued 13 demands to Doha – then shortened to six principles – including closing Al Jazeera television, curbing relations with Iran and shutting down a Turkish military base.

Strike over pay disputes

In late April, staff at the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera English TV channel planned a one-day strike on May 9 over a pay dispute and bad working conditions, Guardian reported on Saturday.

Staff of the London-based Al-Jazeera English explained that the wage talks with the company have deteriorated.

“We’ve had an agreement with the company for three years on pay and they’ve never honored that. We’re devastated to be walking away from the jobs we love, but we’ve been left with no choice,” Brian Ging, senior field producer at Al-Jazeera Media Network, told Guardian.

“We’ve been very patient,” said Ging, who also serves as deputy president of the National Union of Journalists.

However, the planned strike was called off, following a statement by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), saying that a “Significant progress was made between Al Jazeera, the NUJ and The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (BECTU).

Congressmen complaint

In February, A bipartisan group of congressmen urged the Trump administration to open an investigation into the Qatari-funded news outlet Al Jazeera which published a story that entailed a months-long spy operation on American Jews and supporters of Israel.

Al Jazeera should register as a foreign agent under U.S. law. Such a designation under the Foreign Agents Registration Act would show Al Jazeera is under the thumb of the Qatari government, which funds its operations, and not an independent news organization, as it claims to be, the letter proposed by the congressmen said.

Al Jazeera has been sending letters to a slew of Jewish organizations and pro-Israel individuals asking them to comment on what appears to be secret recordings that the news outlet claims confirm Jewish meddling in foreign affairs, congressmen said.

The lawmakers referenced the Al Jazeera spy operation on the American Jewish community as evidence the outlet is operating on behalf of Qatar, which continues to finance terrorism.

Qatar’s double-face

A report issued in December by the right wing think tank, Gatestone Institute (GI), said that Qatar appears to be following a similar ideology to Iran as Qatar supports Hamas and Hezbollah.

“Qatar also pretends to the U.S. that it is supportive of its values, but in fact [it] has close ties with all the enemies of the U.S.,” the report stated. Qatar's Permanent Envoy to the Arab League has called Iran an “honorable state”, a country which the U.S. officially designated a terrorist state in 1984.

While Qatar makes itself out to be tolerant and supportive of democratic Americans and westerners, anyone who watches Al-Jazeera in Arabic will find nothing other than pure hatred of western values and enormous support for armed militias, like Hezbollah, and terrorist groups, like Hamas.

“Not Egyptian Diplomat”

In the UNESCO election in October, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zaid denied the video published by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera. The video claimed to show an Egyptian diplomat cheering in favor of the French UNESCO director general candidate against Qatar.

Egyptian citizen who cheered in favor of the French UNESCO director general candidate – Press photo

“Al-Jazeera is persistently an adept in disseminating false news,” Abu Zaid said in a tweet published on his official account, adding that the video disseminated by Al-Jazeera was not of an Egyptian diplomat or any other member of the Egyptian UNESCO envoy.

In an interview with Qatar TV in October, former Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani said that he regretted establishing the Al-Jazeera channel, as it has caused many problems for Qatar.



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