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Al Jazeera Lays Off About 10% of Workforce

FILE - The logo of Al Jazeera Media Network is seen at the MIPTV, the International Television Programs Market, event in Cannes.

Qatar's state-owned Al Jazeera says it is laying off about 500 jobs worldwide, the latest spending cutback for the Gulf state that has suffered from plummeting oil prices.

Most of the layoffs will affect the broadcaster's Doha headquarters, according to an Al Jazeera statement that described the move as a "workforce optimization initiative."

"While our decision is consistent with those being made across the media industry worldwide, it was difficult to make nonetheless," the statement said. "However, we are confident it is the right step to ensure the network's long-term competitiveness and outreach."

Al Jazeera began in 1996 as an Arabic language TV channel. It now has several channels, including an international English language service.

Earlier this year, the broadcaster announced the closure of Al Jazeera America, three years after it launched.

Qatar, a major oil and gas producer, has been hit hard by falling global oil prices. It expects to run a $12 billion deficit in 2016.