Al-Jazeera topper out after flap

Wadah Khanfar resigns amidst Wikileaks controversy

After eight years as head of satellite news channel Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar has resigned amidst a Wikileaks controversy alleging he agreed to alter the content of the channel’s website at the request of the U.S.

According to a U.S. embassy cable released by Wikileaks on Aug. 30, Khanfar agreed to “tone down” objectionable content on the station’s website and promised to “remove it over the subsequent two or three days.”

Website Middle East Online alleges the leaked document was used by Qatari officials to exert pressure on Palestinian-born Khanfar, especially after he waded into controversy with fellow Palestinian activist Azmi Bishara, also based in Qatar.

Khanfar’s replacement is believed to be Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, a member of Qatar’s ruling dynasty that backs the Doha-based satcaster.

In a farewell note to staffers on Tuesday, Khanfar said he had discussed his desire to step down with the board, which had accepted his decision.

Khanfar’s note said, “Renewal and change is always good. I have served Al-Jazeera with pride as a correspondent, bureau chief, managing director and director-general.”

Under his tenure, the satcaster grew into one of the most powerful news channels in the region, with spinoffs in a variety of languages including English.

Al-Jazeera was a force for change during the recent Arab Spring uprisings. But Khanfar has been criticized by some Arab commentators who say his sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood shows in often favorable coverage of Islamist movements.

(Bobbie Whiteman in Hollywood contributed to this report.)

More TV

  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus Encourages Voting and Volunteering

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus Encourages Voting and Volunteering in New PSA

    After eight years as head of satellite news channel Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar has resigned amidst a Wikileaks controversy alleging he agreed to alter the content of the channel’s website at the request of the U.S. According to a U.S. embassy cable released by Wikileaks on Aug. 30, Khanfar agreed to “tone down” objectionable content on […]

  • 'Central Park' Writer on 'Show Us

    'Central Park' Writer Launches 'Show Us Your Room' Social Media Initiative

    After eight years as head of satellite news channel Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar has resigned amidst a Wikileaks controversy alleging he agreed to alter the content of the channel’s website at the request of the U.S. According to a U.S. embassy cable released by Wikileaks on Aug. 30, Khanfar agreed to “tone down” objectionable content on […]

  • Fox Business Logo

    Fox Business Shuffles Primetime With Trish Regan Move

    After eight years as head of satellite news channel Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar has resigned amidst a Wikileaks controversy alleging he agreed to alter the content of the channel’s website at the request of the U.S. According to a U.S. embassy cable released by Wikileaks on Aug. 30, Khanfar agreed to “tone down” objectionable content on […]

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender

    'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Live-Action Series Set at Netflix

    After eight years as head of satellite news channel Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar has resigned amidst a Wikileaks controversy alleging he agreed to alter the content of the channel’s website at the request of the U.S. According to a U.S. embassy cable released by Wikileaks on Aug. 30, Khanfar agreed to “tone down” objectionable content on […]

  • Black Mirror USS Callister

    Endemol Shine Sale to Be Completed Within Weeks, Top Exec Says

    After eight years as head of satellite news channel Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar has resigned amidst a Wikileaks controversy alleging he agreed to alter the content of the channel’s website at the request of the U.S. According to a U.S. embassy cable released by Wikileaks on Aug. 30, Khanfar agreed to “tone down” objectionable content on […]

  • Tom Arnold

    Tom Arnold on Why He and Bob Woodward are 'Spirit Animals Right Now'

    After eight years as head of satellite news channel Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar has resigned amidst a Wikileaks controversy alleging he agreed to alter the content of the channel’s website at the request of the U.S. According to a U.S. embassy cable released by Wikileaks on Aug. 30, Khanfar agreed to “tone down” objectionable content on […]

  • Netflix Lands ‘Bodyguard,’ Richard Madden and

    Netflix Lands ‘Bodyguard,’ Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes Hit U.K. Drama

    After eight years as head of satellite news channel Al-Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar has resigned amidst a Wikileaks controversy alleging he agreed to alter the content of the channel’s website at the request of the U.S. According to a U.S. embassy cable released by Wikileaks on Aug. 30, Khanfar agreed to “tone down” objectionable content on […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content