Voice of America website traffic was up sharply this week, as users around the world searched for news and information about al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and his death during a U.S. Special Operations raid in Pakistan.
On Monday, there was a 180% spike in the number of visits to VOANews.com websites from Pakistan, compared to the number from the previous Monday. Traffic to the Urdu language website on Monday was double what it was on the same day a week earlier and its highest one-day total ever.
Overall, visits to VOANews.com websites from outside the United States were up 25% from the previous Monday. Visits from the Middle East to VOA’s English, Pashto, Dari, and Deewa Radio websites were at their highest level in the past year.
VOA Director Danforth W. Austin says “the increase in web traffic clearly demonstrates the importance of delivering accurate, objective and comprehensive news products to our target audience on the platform that best fits the region. These numbers show people in the region have increasingly come to rely on Voice of America websites as a trusted source of information.”
In addition to the spike in web traffic, VOA Urdu, English, Dari, and Pashto language mobile sites also saw significant increases in visits. Urdu language mobile traffic was up 250% from the previous Monday, Pashto was up 150% and Dari was up 100% from a week earlier.
VOA’s main English website, www.voanews.com, which streamed President Barack Obama’s announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden, and has had continuous coverage of the U.S. and worldwide reaction to the news, saw Monday’s traffic from Africa jump by 200% over the previous Monday. Visits to the English site from the Middle East were 80% higher and from Asia the number of visits was up by 50%.
VOA’s English website was among the first to report details about the Pakistani man who used his Twitter account to report that a helicopter had crashed in the garrison city of Abbottabad during the raid on bin Laden’s compound.
VOA programs are broadcast on radio, television, the Internet and increasingly on mobile platforms.