Al Jazeera director general Wadah Khanfar announces that he will step down.

Posted: 20 Sep 2011   Print   Send a link
Aljazeera.net, 20 Sept 2011: "Al Jazeera's director general, Wadah Khanfar, has announced that he will step down after eight years as the network's top executive. Khanfar said he had been discussing his decision to step down with the Chairman of the Board for some time. In a farewell note to Al Jazeera staff, Khanfar mentioned that upon his appointment he spoke with the chairman and they set the goal to establish Al Jazeera as a global media leader. In final discussions, they agreed that this target had been met and that the organisation is in a strong position going forward. ... 'When we launched in 1996 "media independence" was a contradiction in terms,' he said in his note to staff. 'State media was prevalent and was blatantly used for propaganda and misinformation. Within such an environment the public probably doubted that Al Jazeera would fulfill its promise of independent journalism. We managed to pleasantly surprise them by exceeding all expectations. ... Our audience quickly saw that Al Jazeera was of them and their world - it was not a foreign imposition nor did it seek to impose a partisan agenda.'"

The Guardian, 20 Sept 2011, Ian Black: "Qatar's government has replaced Wadah Khanfar, the director-general of the al-Jazeera satellite TV network, with a member of its own royal family – a sudden and dramatic move at a time of unprecedented turmoil across the Middle East. ... The new director-general is said to be Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, an executive at Qatargas and a member of the country's ruling dynasty."

Gulf News (Dubai), 20 Sept 2011, Habib Toumi: "Wadah has come under intense pressure recently after a confidential US cable from the US embassy in Doha where Aljazeera is located and published on Wikileaks, claimed that the pan-Arab station general director had agreed to US government request to delete and alter its website content that 'disturbs' the US government. ... Shaikh Ahmad, the new director, is seen as a success model for young Qataris following a series of achievements in the gas sector."