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EGYPT: Al Jazeera official says Web traffic skyrocketed during protests

Jazeera Tony Burman, Al Jazeera’s head of strategy for the Americas, said traffic to the satelite network's  English-language website, where a live stream of its broadcast is available, increased 2,500% during the past week of Egypt coverage. He said up to 60% of the traffic was from the United States.

In a commentary in Saturday's Toronto Star, Burman noted that during that period, an estimated 7 million Americans have watched 50 million minutes of Al Jazeera coverage.

California-based Link TV, watched by more than 33 million American households via the DirecTV and Dish satellite systems, has been broadcasting up to 12 hours of Al Jazeera coverage daily, said Burman, former managing director of Al Jazeera English and a former editor-in-chief of CBC News.

"Al Jazeera has been unique among broadcasters by making its content available to cable and satellite systems worldwide so that potential viewers — particularly in Canada and the U.S. — can decide for themselves whether they want to watch," Burman wrote. "In Canada this month, in light of the events in Egypt and the growing public interest in the channel's news and programming, AJE (Al Jazeera English) is being made available in February free-of-charge as a 'free preview' to all of its affiliates in Canada."

Al Jazeera English is available in 220 million households in more than 100 countries, including Canada, but is still not broadcast in most of the U.S.

"Will all of this result in a breakthrough — nationwide — in the United States? Will broadcast historians in the future record this as "Al Jazeera’s Moment"? Will American cable and satellite providers, nervous about controversy, listen to its potential audience?" Burman wrote. "I certainly hope so."

—  Molly Hennessy-Fiske

 Photo:  Carol Tadros, an exchange student from Egypt at the University of Wyoming campus where a live stream of Al Jazeera English played on the monitor. Tadros' family is safe, but she worries about the future of her country while she's away studying architectural engineering. Credit: Dan Cepeda/Associated Press

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Comments () | Archives (3)

I have been watching Al-Jazeera's 'live' broadcast online since the Egyptian Uprising began, and it has been a real eye-opener. The somber journalistic professionalism of the al-Jazeera reporters and presenters make American News personalities like Chris Mathews and Bill O'Reilly look like vapid morning chat show hosts, and has highlighted for me the complete and utter worthlessness of the corporate controlled American News Media which is more interested in keeping it's parent multi-National corporations, sponsors, and the US State Department happy than bringing the American public anything actually newsworthy.

But as long as a large percentage of the American people choose to show more interest in what Angelina Jolie wore to the Golden Globes and in being purely 'entertained' than in what the government is doing to the US constitution, and wallstreet and the corporate lobby are doing to the American economy; I suppose we get what we deserve.

The American Government's reaction to the Egyptian pro-democracy uprising has also demonstrated that our government is just plain full of ^&%$.

Remember why Bush invaded Iraq, squandering billions of dollars, sacrificing thousands of our precious service people, and murdering hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians? Wasn't it to "spread democracy throughout the middle East"? Now that the Egyptian people have peacefully risen as one demanding democracy and freedom, a democracy and freedom which won't cost the American tax payer a penny or a single American life, - our government stands on the sidelines, secretly hoping their homicidal strongman puppet can be kept in office just long enough for the CIA to install another dictator they can control through billions in aid....uh....I mean pay-offs with the American tax-payer's money.

As a patriotic 11th generation American, I am all for securing the interests of the United States; but I believe that can be done without conspiring with a brutal tyrant to keep the Egyptian people in slavery.

I've been "glued" to them the whole time.
Regardless of your politics it has been gripping viewing.
Too bad our own so called "news" can't report honestly.

Even though Al Jazeera is heads above CNN, FOX, MSNBC and all the rest, it is not carried on US cable networks because it cannot pass muster with AIPAC. That's it. End of story.


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