Al Jazeera is launching a program aimed at recruiting more Qatari citizens to work for the international news network, local Arabic newspaper Al-Sharq reports.
The move comes some three months after a major change of leadership at the Qatar-based network, when Wadah Khanfar stepped down as its director general of eight years, and Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani took his place.
According to the Al-Sharq report, Al Jazeera is looking for Qataris not over the age of 30 with a working knowledge of regional and international affairs, and a university degree, preferably in media or communications.
The network has seen a growing number of changes under Al Thani’s leadership, including shifts to the director of news and managing director positions in Al Jazeera Arabic. It has also instituted a general hiring freeze amid corporate restructuring.
William Youmans, an American PhD student studying Al Jazeera, questions if this new program is a form of “Qatari affirmative action.” He writes:
This is likely a response to resentment among Qataris who perceive the network as being run and staffed by other Arab nationals, such as Egyptians, Lebanese and Palestinians. Also, since Qatar did not have the tradition of journalism, there may have been a dearth of well-qualified in-country journalists, editors, etc.
What do you think? Does Al Jazeera, as a Qatar-based, Qatari-funded organization, need to hire more nationals, whatever their skill level? Or could that push ultimately weaken its reputation and overall product?
Credit: Photo of Al Jazeera Satellite Channel by Paloma Haschke/UNAOC