Al-Jazeera, the popular Arabic news broadcaster, has launched the English-language version of its web site.

The site,, has been in development since early 2002 and was finally launched on 1 September. Al-Jazeera is the most popular Arabic-language web site in the world and received around 161 million visits in 2002.

Nabil Hijazi, assignments editor at Al-Jazeera, told dotJournalism that 46 per cent of's users are based outside the Middle East.

"The English site is designed to communicate with all people around the world that speak or read English. It's a global language so it’s not just for the UK and the US," he said.

"The site is still in development, and obviously we want to gauge the reaction to the basic site. But we do plan to bring in more features including multimedia content."

Mr Hijazi said that the site has already received significant traffic in its first few days of operation.

In July, Qatar-based Al-Jazeera launched a news SMS (mobile text messaging) service. An English-language news channel is also planned for next year.


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