IBA’s Arabic Internet site attracts readers across Mideast

Journalists and photographers from places of regional unrest are reporting from and contributing to Arabil, Arabic internet portal of IBA.

IBA 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
IBA 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Journalists and photographers from places of regional unrest are reporting from and contributing to Arabil, the Arabic Internet portal of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
According to IBA spokeswoman Linda Bar, several professionals have commended the website for its broad range of information, and some are sending stories and photos.
Even though they are corresponding with ‘the enemy,’ some are even including their names and phone numbers so as to get feedback and to learn what specific areas of political activity in their countries may be of interest to the IBA.
Several have stated that they regard Arabil as a vehicle for publicizing what is going on in their respective countries, and have also noted the value of Arabic broadcasts on Israel Radio.
The willingness of the IBA to cooperate with journalists in these countries may indirectly contribute to the Middle East peace process increasing numbers of hits from the Arab world, and enabling people from different parts of the region to not only see accurate reports of what is happening in their own countries, but to also gain a better understanding of Israel.
The confidence that Arab journalists and photographers from outside of Israel have in the IBA is evidenced by the number of exclusives on its Internet site since the wave of antigovernment demonstrations began just under two months ago.
Reports have been received from journalists in Egypt, Algiers, Morocco, and the Gulf states. A photographer from Yemen recently sent exclusive photos as well as video clips of demonstrations and the struggles between demonstrators and security forces.
Even a caricaturist from Egypt has sought to have his work appear on the website. Shaike Komornik, the editor of the site, notes that since the uprisings in the region began, there has been a significant upsurge of hits, with more than quarter of a million throughout February, mostly from Arab states but also from people living in the West.
The average time that any surfer spends on the site is around 15 minutes, which indicates that they are not merely browsing, but actually reading the content.
Some of the material – specifically, the exclusive reports from Arab countries and anything of a political or a security nature pertaining to Israel – is plagiarized and subsequently appears on Internet sites of other countries in the region, which more or less guarantees that it is read by a large proportion of the Arab world.