News      |      Events

Al-Jazeera head resigns

20 Sep 2011
Al-Jazeera’s top executive, Wadah Khanfar, resigned today after eight years as the head of the satellite news channel and was replaced by a member of the Qatari ruling family, the company said, AFP reports.

“For some time I have been discussing my desire to step down with the chairman of the board,” Mr Khanfar wrote on Al-Jazeera’s website. “He has kindly expressed understanding and has accepted my decision.”

Mr Khanfar was appointed Managing Director in 2003 and was later promoted to Director General.

He is to be succeeded by Sheikh Ahmad bin Jasem bin Muhammad al-Thani, who has industry experience in France and the United States and holds degrees from Imperial College in London and the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business in the United States.

Mr Khanfar’s resignation came amid a Wikileaks controversy in which the whistle-blowing website leaked a US government cable that suggests the Al-Jazeera executive agreed to alter the content of the channel’s website after a US request to do so.

The US embassy cable from Doha says Mr Khanfar agreed to “tone down” objectionable content on the station’s website and promised to “remove it over the subsequent two or three days”.

An Al-Jazeera spokesman said: “Wadah Khanfar had made outstanding contributions to Al-Jazeera and journalism worldwide. We all recognise his commitment to courageous reporting and want to continue to build upon those achievements.”