A former Al Jazeera America executive, Shannon High-Bassalik, has accused the network of discrimination against women and non-Arabic employees, and choosing to forgo “journalistic objectivity” to “advance a pro-Arabic/Middle Eastern agenda, often at the expense of Jewish people,” according to a report in Variety.
High-Bassalik is filing suit against the network, the second major lawsuit charging Al Jazeera America with discrimination.
In recent months, turmoil at the network has resulted in several high profile executive departures, and the replacement of the network’s CEO. High-Bassalik was a senior vice president of programming and documentaries at AJAM.
The network released a statement to TVNewser:
“The allegations made against Al Jazeera America are by a former employee whose conduct and performance went through a full process of investigation led by an external law firm before her employment ended, during which Ms. High-Bassalik made none of the allegations she makes in her complaint. We regret that Ms. High-Bassalik has now decided to make unfounded allegations against Al Jazeera and its employees. Al Jazeera values and respects all of its employees, and has zero tolerance of any form of discrimination.”
Al Jazeera America’s new CEO Al Anstey stressed the importance of respect, transparency, and integrity in his first message to staff last month in which he said, “You’ll hear me use the word integrity a lot internally and externally. It is the cornerstone of everything we do internally at Al Jazeera America. Respect, transparency, and the best practice of management is the only standard we will adhere to, and we expect nothing less.”
In the same message Anstey said of Al Jazeera America’s content: “We will, and must, stand up to scrutiny. We must be confident, and have courage in our journalism. And we must always be correct with our facts, and honest with our viewers.”