June 9, 2010

Five Al-Jazeera anchorwomen resign over ‘decency’

Five anchorwomen resigned from the Al-Jazeera news network in late May over “clothes and decency,” according to gulfnews.com.

Former Al-Jazeera anchorwoman Lina Zahr al-Din

Three Lebanese women, a Syrian and one Tunisian were a group of eight women who filed to protest against an official who made “repeated, offensive public remarks” against them, the report said.

The harassment complaint was specifically directed against Ayman Jaballah, the deputy editor-in-chief.

The anchorwomen wore western-style outfits, makeup and did not cover their hair during broadcasts. They are Joumana Nammour, Lina Zahr al-Din, Jullinar Mousa, Luna al-Shibl and Nawfar Afli.

But a private panel inquiry into the incident said that Al-Jazeera had the “right to dictate how the presenters dressed to demonstrate its spirit and principles,” according to Daily Mail Online.

“This collective resignation is not motivated just by the growing pressure on the presenters concerning their dress code, which was evoked by the media,” a staff journalist who was not identified said. “The conflicts run much deeper.”

The Daily Mail also indicated that many Arab bloggers are firmly behind the anchorwomen, with one blogger saying the satellite channel management was becoming too “ideological.”

Several reports said the Al-Jazeera management would issue a statement about the resignations at a later date.

Al-Jazeera logo

Al-Jazeera, which was formed in 1996, is based in Doha, Qatar.  The network has since grown in its reach around the world.

The network has come under criticism from western countries, particularly the United States, which claims it is often the mouthpiece for extremist groups in the Middle East.

It is banned from broadcast in Iraq.

—Don Clyde/Newsdesk

CITATIONS:

Five Al Jazeera anchorwomen resign
gulfnews.com, May 30, 2010

Al-Jazeera anchorwomen quit in newsroom row over ‘clothes and decency’
Daily Mail Online, June 1, 2010

Al-Jazeera anchorwomen quit in clothing spat: reports
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, May 31, 2010

Al-Jazeera anchorwomen quit in clothing spat
Middle East Online, May 30, 2010

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