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Al Jazeera America to shutter operations by April 30 due to 'unsustainable' U.S. model

By Doug G. Ware   |   Updated Jan. 13, 2016 at 4:01 PM

NEW YORK, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Al Jazeera America announced Wednesday that it will shutter its operations by the beginning of May due to what it calls an unsustainable business model in the U.S. marketplace.

The network, which replaced Al Gore's Current TV in 2013, will completely close by April 30, the company said.

"I know the closure of AJAM will be a massive disappointment for everyone here who has worked tirelessly for our long-term future," CEO Al Anstey wrote in an email to employees. "Our commitment to great journalism is unrivaled. We have increasingly set ourselves apart from all the rest. And you are the most talented team any organization could wish for."

"Our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace," he added.

The network noted that the move coincides with a plan by its global parent company, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network, to expand its operations into the U.S. market.

"As audiences increasingly turn to multiple platforms, including mobile devices, for news and information, this expansion will allow U.S. and non-U.S. consumers alike to access the Network's journalism and content wherever and whenever they want," the Al Jazeera Media Network said in a statement. "By expanding its digital content and distribution services to now include the U.S., the Network will be better positioned to innovate and compete in an overwhelmingly digital world to serve today's 24-hour digitally focused audience."

Al Jazeera America, headquartered in New York, is the sister station of the parent company's international English language network, Al Jazeera English.

Last month, the network became mired in controversy over a report that claimed multiple high profile professional athletes, including NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, had been linked to performance-enhancing drugs.

Manning, as well as two Major League Baseball players, have strongly refuted the report. Both MLB players have also filed defamation lawsuits against the network.

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