US web surfers flocked to foreign news websites last month for alternative coverage of the war in Iraq.
Traffic on the BBC's website surged by 158 per cent in March, according to research from Nielsen//NetRatings.
The BBC's World Service site attracted 5.3 million surfers in March, equating to an increase of 3.2 million unique visitors compared with February.
Aljazeera.net experienced a 1,208 per cent increase in traffic in March, drawing more than one million surfers from the US. Both Aljazeera.net and BBC World Service drew predominantly male visitors.
Traffic to Reuters.com in March jumped 72 per cent month-over-month, recording more than 2.1 million visitors.
"While established news sources maintained their strong audience levels, the war in Iraq sparked interest in different perspectives on world events," said Greg Bloom, senior internet analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings.
"The web catered to that curiosity by allowing Americans to complement their mainstream domestic news sources with an international perspective not as readily available during the first Gulf War in 1991."
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