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Al-Jazeera Anchors Get Dressed Down for Dressing Up

June 5, 2010

I think we would all agree that most news stations have the right to impose a dress code on their anchors – after all, they are the face of the station, and in a way they aren’t that much different from any other type of actor that requires a costume (even if that costume is a pants suit and manicured eyebrows…)

So it’s not surprising that Al-Jazeera wants its anchors to be professional and somewhat conservative in appearance in the network’s attempt to appeal to a wide audience in the Middle East.

What is surprising is that they have no formal dress code – which means that any commentary on how the (in this case: female) anchors dress comes in the form of personal criticism from the deputy editor-in-chief Ayman Jaballah.  (Mainly, it seems, they were criticized for wearing too much makeup and not to wearing a head scarf…)

Five female anchors complained to the network about “offensive remarks” Ayman Jaballah made about their  “clothes and decency,” and then quit earlier this week when the network didn’t act (or even investigate the allegations).

It’s pretty noticeable when five of the main anchors are suddenly missing from the news room…  so Al-Jazeera released this comment upon their resignations:

“The on-screen style and general appearance of broadcasters and announcers are the legal right of the network to determine and develop,” as are “the spirit and principles of the channel and the image it wishes to present”.  …and then they added that Yes, they will be writing up a formal dress code… you know, to limit problems in the future…

Rules only work when people know that they exist.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 5, 2010 9:27 am

    One of the unexpected benefits of getting a satellite dish for the television was picking up Al -Jazeera. Watching this station gives a bit of an insight into another life. Also makes me feel fortunate that it’s not MY life.

    But it applies to all sorts of environments – rules only work when people know they exist.

    btw – have you read “The Cider House Rules” by John Irving?

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