15 MARCH 2016
|AL JAZEERA ENGLISH CLOSES
Internal differences within the management of Al Jazeera America in the US resulted in a decision to close Al Jazeera America, which is broadcasting throughout the US. A venture
that began a few years ago with a promise, and at great expense, will now be quietly folded. At the time it was said that one channel called "Current Cable" was bought from former
Vice President Al Gore for over $50 million dollars. Maintenance and other expenses cost much more.
Obviously it is not a question of unavailable financial resources. The government of Qatar could easily finance a project, a venture, which it would consider worthwhile. It may be
that management issues are mainly a pretext to end a project started by someone else in Doha, before that someone was relieved of influential duty. The new young ruler, Sheikh Tamim,
who is not only fluent in English but well-versed in media issues, and the young team around him, realized that the outreach and the counter-effect were not worth continued investment.
The initial date for closure was targeted for April 30. Let's wait and see. Meanwhile Al Jazeera Arabic continues, but not with the same gusto, particularly due to controversial
issues on Syria, Egypt and other Arab areas. What remains consistent, however, is the outstanding professional performance of Al Jazeera's chief correspondent in Washington,
Abderrahim Foukara, who once headed its UN office in New York.