Friday, February 4, 2011

Al Jazeera web traffic soars as events in Egypt continue

The website Mondoweiss had an interesting look at Al Jazeera web traffic, comparing the growth of these traffic since the events in Egypt increased in interest, and the web traffic of the NYT website.
The original post by Brian Dana Akers is here. Akers pulls up the web traffic report vis and compares the web traffic at Al Jazeera with the NYT in a chart. I have updated that chart myself to show the current information -- but clicking the chart will send you to the Mondoweiss (common courtesy since it was their original idea).

Earlier today (local time in Egypt) the Cairo offices of Al Jazeera were ransacked by "gangs of thugs". Al Jazeera issued a statement and posted on their blog about the attack:

It appears to be the latest attempt by the Egyptian regime or its supporters to hinder Al Jazeera’s coverage of events in the country.

In the last week its bureau was forcibly closed, all its journalists had press credentials revoked, and nine journalists were detained at various stages. Al Jazeera has also faced unprecedented levels of interference in its broadcast signal as well as persistent and repeated attempts to bring down its websites.

Update: Al Jazeera is not the only news organization being harassed by the government or pro-Mubarak supporters. The Guardian has an account of the experiences of its reporters -- what it is calling "hair-raising encounters with the Egyptian security forces and members of an angry mob."

CBS News reporter Lara Logan and her crew were detained by the Egyptian military yesterday and were only released this morning. The harassment has apparently been effective: Logan and her crew are flying back to Washington this evening. Brian Williams and Katie Couric have also left Egypt, according to the NYT's Brian Stelter's Media Decoder report.

More and more American media will be dependent on Al Jazeera for reporting. But still the Qatar-based news channel is absent from most US cable systems.