Disruption continues at Al Jazeera

US anchor joins host of big name departures amid growing instability at the network.
Marash cited changes in editorial direction for his departure from the Doha based network.
Marash cited changes in editorial direction for his departure from the Doha based network.

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Al Jazeera's turbulent times continued with several high profile names leaving the network and questions being raised over senior management's plans for the future of the station.

American anchor David Marash, who was based in the Washington bureau of the network's English service, announced he would be leaving when his two year contract expired at the end of March.

"To put it bluntly, the channel that's on now - while excellent, and I plan to be a lifetime viewer - is not the same channel that I signed up to work on," said Marash.

Senior executive Steve Clark, who was credited with playing a huge role in the launch of the English language Al Jazeera in November 2006 has announced his departure.

Clark who had previously worked at UK news networks ITN and Sky News, had been widely tipped to leave after his wife Jo Burgin, former head of planning at Al Jazeera English, filed a legal claim for race, sex and religious discrimination against the network.

In a separate claim last month, Yvonne Ridley who had worked as an editor at Al Jazeera, won a case for unfair dismissal and was awarded US$27,500 in damages.

The UK's Guardian newspaper reported that in total 15 senior staff had left over the course of a few months citing uncertainty over working conditions and contractual disagreements. There are also reports that editorial control is increasingly moving away from the bureaus and into the hands of the Doha-based management whilst rumours of a potential re-launch are also circulating.

The period of disruption comes as the Arabic language channel faces new competition from BBC Arabic's new TV service and potential regulatory problems via the recent satellite broadcast charter which was recently passed by all Arab League members apart from Lebanon and Qatar.

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