- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 25, 2021

Staffers at the Qatar-funded media conglomerate Al Jazeera are speaking out against the company’s launching of a new conservative-leaning news channel, calling it a “betrayal” to their journalistic mission.

In an open letter to management obtained by The Guardian, more than 100 Al Jazeera staff, including executive producers, anchors and correspondents, said the launch this week of Rightly is “an affront to the ethical, journalistic and editorial vision and guidelines of Al Jazeera.”

“Media in the US is already polarised and the introduction of ‘Rightly’ is not a solution but rather a deepening of the problem,” the letter said, The Guardian reported. “Those of us who work in the United States already face tremendous challenges, and our jobs will only be made more difficult now that we will be associated with promoting a political ideology.”

“This isn’t about politics, left or right, or diversity of perspectives,” it added. “This is about journalism and continuing the network’s moral mission of uplifting marginalised voices, communities and stories. ‘Rightly’ is a betrayal of that mission.”

Al Jazeera Media Network on Thursday announced the launch of Rightly, billing it as a U.S.-based digital platform that will “generate content for audiences currently underrepresented in today’s media environment,” according to a press release.

Al Jazeera is excited to expand its digital footprint with Rightly to provide fresh voices that are too often left out of the mainstream media a space to engage and debate the issues that matter most to them,” executive Michael Weaver said in a statement. “Rightly will also be a platform where the full spectrum of political voices can expect to have, or find, a thoughtful debate on the future of the United States.”

Scott Norvell, formerly of Fox News, will serve as Rightly’s editor-in-chief, the company said.

Sana Saeed, a host and senior producer with the company, fired off a series of tweets Thursday afternoon revealing she had signed the letter opposing the venture.

“As the now publicized internal letter from over 100 employees, including me, makes clear: this decision is an affront to our values,” she wrote.

“I respect the space I’ve been given for almost 7 years to tell stories I wouldn’t have had the privilege to tell elsewhere,” she wrote. “I do not respect this decision.”

The staff letter called Rightly “problematic on many levels” and asked management for a meeting to discuss their concerns, The Guardian reported.

“We strongly believe that it should not remain a part of the Al Jazeera Media Network,” the letter said.

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