Want to Watch Egypt News on al-Jazeera? You Can't

Cable blackout leads to huge surge in web traffic for Qatar-based network
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2011 6:24 AM CST
A Jordanian girl watches the al Jazeera TV station in Jerash, Jordan,.   (AP Photo / Mohammad Abu Ghosh)

(Newser) – Washington is smugly criticizing Egypt for suppressing Internet communication and al-Jazeera, but if you want to watch history in the making on the network—widely seen as having the best coverage—you probably won't find the Qatar-based news network on your dial. Freely available in Canada, al-Jazeera is blocked from all but a few pockets in the US market. Media analysts blame corporate censorship, the work of companies who fear they will lose subscribers if they start offering al-Jazeera as an option.

Negative stereotypes were associated with al-Jazeera's English-language service when it launched in 2006, but "I think that's changed," the network's head of North American strategies tells the Huffington Post." I think if anything the Obama administration has indicated to al-Jazeera that it sees us as part of the solution, not part of the problem." Recent days have seen a 2,500% increase in traffic to al-Jazeera's online service, he notes, and a full 60% of that has come from the US.

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