Jamal Khashoggi has resigned from his position as editor in chief of al-Watan daily. The newspaper website has carried a brief item last night saying the resignation has been accepted, and the reason given was that Khashoggi wants to focus on his “personal projects.” The resignation comes less than two weeks after the progressive paper launched the latest iteration of its website. On the occasion, Khashoggi wrote an editorial proclaiming “Al-Watan is the new media,” which did not go well at all with many bloggers and online activists.
The reason offered here for the resignation is unconvincing, to say the least. People on Twitter and elsewhere have been speculating about the real reasons behind the sudden departure of Khashoggi, who has an interesting career in journalism including a short stint at the helm of al-Watan few years ago that lasted for only 52 days. Some people suggested that his resignation is just a step on his way to hold a new position at the new Alef Alef company, the broadcast arm of Aseer Media and Publishing company, which owns the newspaper. Alef Alef has recently won a license to start one of the first private FM radio stations in Saudi Arabia.
However, this explanation does not ring true to me. Neither what Fouad mentioned about this article by Ibrahim al-Almaai. It seems that Khaoggi was forced to resign, according to one source in the newspaper. This forced resignation is not the result of one article, but rather due to the accumulation of several articles, stories and other circumstances. “It could be that al-Almai’s article was just the straw that broke the camel’s back,” my source said.
Curiously, the resignation was accepted on Jamal Khashoggi’s wedding night.