Major shakeup at Al-Jazeera America
Ehab al-Shihabi, the interim chief executive officer for Al-Jazeera America, has been sacked, according to senior sources inside Al-Jazeera.
The sources told Middle East Eye he will be replaced by Al Anstey, the managing director for Qatar-based Al Jazeera English. Amjad Atallah, a former Washington DC bureau chief is slated to become Anstey’s director of news.
Al-Jazeera America has had a spate of bad tidings recently. Last week it was hit with a $15 million wrongful termination lawsuit that claimed a senior executive repeatedly expressed an anti-America, anti-Semitic and anti-female bias. On Monday, another top executive stepped down.
“I didn’t want to be there anymore because I didn’t like the culture of fear," Marcy McGinnis, the network’s former senior vice president for news gathering, told The New York Times. “People are afraid to lose their jobs if they cross Ehab.”
Al-Jazeera America wants to present the decision on Shihabi’s exit as strategic – that the organisation doesn’t want individuals to have a negative impact within the news agency, nor have values which are contrary to Al-Jazeera values, according to the senior sources.
MEE has reached out to Al-Jazeera America for direct comment.
Meanwhile, the news agency's parent company released a statement on Wednesday afternoon, saying: "Al-Jazeera Media Network has appointed Al Anstey as CEO of Al-Jazeera America with immediate effect. Anstey replaces interim CEO Ehab al-Shihabi who was responsible for launching Al-Jazeera America in 2013."
The statement went on to talk about Anstey's background and quote him on his appointment as CEO. There was no further mention of Shihabi and no reason was given for replacing him.