After months of rumors, the Qatar-backed Al Jazeera has said it is sacking 500 employees across its network.

Most of the affected staffers are based at the broadcaster’s Doha headquarters, Al Jazeera said in a statement.

In a memo sent to staff today, acting Director General Mostefa Souag said the layoffs were part of a “workforce optimization initiative” that comes amid a changing industry.

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Souag did not mention the deep budget cuts facing Al Jazeera, which is funded by the Qatar government.