Tuesday, May 27, 2003
About Freakin Time
Al-Jazeera Replaces General Manager
By SARAH EL DEEB
Associated Press Writer
May 27, 2003, 4:41 PM EDT
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The Al-Jazeera all-news satellite television station said Tuesday it will replace its general manager.
The Arab broadcaster did not give a reason for the removal of Mohammed Jassim Al-Ali, who has managed the station since its inception seven years ago.
Jihad Ballout, communication and media relations manager, said Al-Ali would remain on Al-Jazeera's seven-member board of directors.
The board of directors, chaired by Sheik Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani, a member of Qatar's royal family, is responsible for editorial policy.
Al-Ali was not available for comment.
He was an assistant for the director of Qatari television before being transferred to Al-Jazeera when it was launched in 1996 with a $150 million loan from the Qatar government.
Since then, the station has claimed full independence from Qatar's government. The station has gained a reputation as an independent voice in a region where many news media are government-controlled.
Al-Jazeera has broadcast messages by Osama bin Laden or other members of the al-Qaida terror network.
Last week, the station aired an audiotape attributed to bin Laden's top lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahri, and was criticized by Secretary of State Colin Powell. Powell said after speaking with Qatar's foreign minister that he believed the Gulf state was taking "some action" about the airing of the tape.
The station also has angered Arab leaders for being critical of them and their policies.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Associated Press
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