A general view shows the newsroom at the headquarters of Al-Jazeera.
Photograph by Karim Jaafar—AFP via Getty Images
By Michal Addady
March 27, 2016

Al Jazeera Media Network has reportedly laid off a bunch of employees.

The 20 year old cable news network has fired about 500 people, Bloomberg reports. Most of the layoffs occurred at Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha, Qatar, the country’s capital. This comes as the state-funded broadcaster, which is funded in part by Qatar’s ruling family, the House of Thani, is redirecting its focus on digital operations.

The network’s acting director-general Mostefa Souag told Bloomberg in a statement that the restructuring began a few months ago and he is “confident this is an important decision to improve [Al Jazeera’s] competitiveness.”

Earlier this year Al Jazeera announced plans to shut down its U.S. branch after failing to find an audience, a move that Fortune reported could result in as many as 700 people losing their jobs. According to executives, the shutdown should be complete by April 30. The announcement came soon after baseball players Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard filed defamation lawsuits against the network.

Al Jazeera has offices in upwards of 70 cities and says that it will continue to expand digital operations and establish new platforms in the U.S.

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