Twenty-two Egyptian staffers at Al Jazeera’s flagship Arab-language news network have resigned their jobs, claiming station management forced them to take an overtly pro-Muslim Brotherhood stance in coverage of the military coup. Al Jazeera, which is based in Qatar, has close ties to the Qatari royal family–the Qatari royals are major financial backers of the Muslim Brotherhood and view Egypt as a linchpin of the small Persian Gulf nation’s foreign policy.
According to a report in the English-language Gulf News, station employees accused Al Jazeera of biased coverage and anchor Karem Mahmoud added “the management in Doha provokes sedition among the Egyptian people and has an agenda against Egypt and other Arab countries.” All 22 employees work at Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, the news network’s Egyptian branch.
The resignations follow a tumultuous week in which Al Jazeera’s Egyptian head, Ayman Gaballah, was arrested by military authorities.
Fast Company named former Al Jazeera director general Wadah Khanfar #1 on our Most Creative People 2011 list. Khanfar had an interesting exchange with writer Nancy Cook:
But I ask: “Aren’t you a center of power now?”
Khanfar laughs. He likes to be challenged. “We have to be questioned too.” Good leaders need to build consensus, he says. “It would be much easier to be a dictator like Arab leaders.” He grins. “But it doesn’t work.”
Earlier today, Al Jazeera anchor Hegag Selama told an Egyptian newspaper that Al Jazeera management were directly interfering in their reporters’ news coverage.
Update: Al Jazeera English’s press office has made an official statement via their Tumblr.