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free enterprise versus free speech?
April 4, 2003 4:29 PM   Subscribe

Akamai to Al-Jazeera: F*** off. In a manner of speaking.
posted by donkeyschlong (57 comments total)

 
I of course don't know the details (I mean apparently Akamai started a relationship, why kill it now?) but the Editor's note at the bottom of this article is telling.
posted by bitdamaged at 4:34 PM on April 4, 2003


Hmmm. Looks like Akamai is run by JEWS. Why would Al-Jazeera want ot deal with them anyway?

Also, can anyone explain how I can get A-J on the Web? I want to monitor The Enemy, if only for a laugh.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:40 PM on April 4, 2003


english.aljazeera.net. Except watch out, they have a special "anti-Jew ISP Detection Unit" (AJIDU) which might crash your computer if you attempt to view their website.

Also, nice to see that you are finally coming clean about who "the enemy" is-- Arabs, not Saddam, or Hamas, or Al Qaeda, or Bin Laden, but Arabs, all of them and their media. I applaud your honesty, even though I despise your racism.
posted by cell divide at 4:45 PM on April 4, 2003


andy kaufman lives, and he is freedom paramus.
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:48 PM on April 4, 2003


PP: why don't you just sign your name and roll on, from now forward. You've already articulated the extreme-right, anti-arab, Israeli apologist point of view well enough that rubber-stamping will do.

The floor is now open to anyone who'd like to discuss the political, business, or journalistic aspects of this issue in more resolution than "JEW/ARAB FRIEND/ENEMY."

As much as I think Al-Jazeera is bad enough to make Fox News blush, it's sad to see any news source, especially one that provides a counterpoint to the US media hegemony (however inflammatory) systematically shut out of the global debate.
posted by scarabic at 4:51 PM on April 4, 2003


damn hippies
posted by tiamat at 4:52 PM on April 4, 2003


As much as I think Al-Jazeera is bad enough to make Fox News blush

Can you elaborate, scarabic? From what I've read, there are a variety of shows on Al-Jazeera, some more inflammatory than others. I'd like to hear more specific examples from those who call the network as a whole a Fox News equivalent.
posted by mediareport at 4:55 PM on April 4, 2003


Mmm. Jewey.
posted by moonbiter at 4:59 PM on April 4, 2003


Some links:

In Defense of Al-Jazeera

LA Times Critic Watches Al-Jazeera

Non Jazeeras-- other Arabic News Channels

Why Al-Jazeera is as Fair as CNN

Morocco Bans Al-Jazeera

Al Jazeera Gets Fees from FOX, NBC
posted by cell divide at 5:02 PM on April 4, 2003


Akamai: Co-founder dies in WTC plane crash

Guess where I found this.
posted by hama7 at 5:07 PM on April 4, 2003


cell divide is laying it down. Paris is getting bombed tonight.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:10 PM on April 4, 2003


Thanks, cell divide. I'm sure some of those links mention that the pre-9/11 Al-Jazeera took a lot of flak from Muslim fundamentalists for interviewing Israeli officials in a fair way.

hama7, Aaron Barnhardt at TVBarn already dealt with the Dan Lewin point:

He surely would not have been a fan of Al Jazeera. But you'd like to think that if he were around today, he'd have treated them like any other customer. Because he was a man.

Well said.
posted by mediareport at 5:16 PM on April 4, 2003


great links, cell divide. hamas and freedom, sputter away.
posted by donkeyschlong at 5:19 PM on April 4, 2003


Akamai deserves to be boycotted, if not prosecuted, for their denial of the right to free speech. I can't believe this was a business-oriented decision. Have they made any public comment about it?

I've posted a question to their website - will report if I get a response.
posted by cbrody at 5:50 PM on April 4, 2003


The al-Jazeera journalists that I've met and worked alongside seemed equally as fair-minded as their American-media counterparts (and more fair-minded than the Fox "News" gang.) I don't speak Arabic, so I can't comment on their channel's viewpoint, but I've read pretty much what mediareport points out -- that a variety of views are expressed on al-Jazeera, some anti-American, some not.
posted by Vidiot at 6:21 PM on April 4, 2003


Akamai deserves to be boycotted, if not prosecuted, for their denial of the right to free speech. I can't believe this was a business-oriented decision.

Do you realize what you just said?
posted by Snyder at 6:36 PM on April 4, 2003


Akamai deserves to be boycotted, if not prosecuted, for their denial of the right to free speech.

Bleh. I don't agree with what Akamai did, I think it's bad business, but censorship? Don't think so. They aren't obligated to carry content they don't want to carry. They aren't a government agency, and they aren't actively supressing al Jazeera, just refusing to serve them. Al Jazeera are free to go to another hosting provider, or host themselves. Whatever your opinion of al Jazeera's journalistic standards, turning it into a censorship issue is bogus, IMHO.
posted by RylandDotNet at 6:37 PM on April 4, 2003


Is it more likely Akamai serves many (with issues that should be addressed) who were offended by the thought of sharing server space with the enemy, and so threatened to take their business elsewhere?

And what the fuck was that jew remark? pity.
posted by LouReedsSon at 7:33 PM on April 4, 2003


And what the fuck was that jew remark? pity.

don't you know? parisparamus is metafilter's resident anti-semite. he hates jews with a passion. it's sick.
posted by donkeyschlong at 7:36 PM on April 4, 2003


This thread needs a massive dry sense of humor upgrade. Oy vey.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:37 PM on April 4, 2003


CellDivide: nice to see your mastery of the English language continues at the elementary school level. Ever consider calling Berlitz?
posted by ParisParamus at 7:40 PM on April 4, 2003


LouReedsSon:

Don't listen to them. Metafilter seems to be populated by people with people who have a sense of humor deficit; and DS has the right idea with his Andy Kaufman reference.

My point was that, at least ostensibly, at least two of Akamai's principals have (like myself) Jewish-compatible surnames, which strikes me as amusing, since, I would suspect, a majority of A-J's viewers think Jews are the devil, and are responsible for, well...EVERYTHING WRONG WITH THE WORLD.

By the way, despite what you read here. I have nothing against Muslims or Arabs; and no particular loyalty to Israelis or fellow Jews. But I do have a strong disgust of primitive people of all backgrounds, and enjoy ripping them apart with extremist comments.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:52 PM on April 4, 2003


so there!
posted by LouReedsSon at 8:10 PM on April 4, 2003


paris, that's fine. it's just that sometimes it would be nice to discuss something in the absence of one of your attempted derails. seriously. i'd lay off you, donkey's honor, if you'd just respect a valid discussion now and again. akamai arbitrarily freezing al-jazeera out is grounds for an interesting back-and-forth on free press and corporate ethics. ruining it with jew jokes is just crummy. and it's not funny after a certain point.
posted by donkeyschlong at 8:13 PM on April 4, 2003


Donkey: I'm a M-B ENFP. I am very good at seeing patterns, and infering things. And I found what I observed very ironic. My intention was, and rarely is, to derail a thread.

By the way, no one is obliged to sell their services to anyone. Also, A-J's English web site is still very much up.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:28 PM on April 4, 2003


>Also, A-J's English web site is still very much up.

What URL are you using?

I don't believe Al-Jazeera can't find a decent web host. Even if there is an information chill here in the US there are many, many non-US web hosts out there.

Maybe Al-Jazeera isn't too concerned about their english web presense. The website is going to be a revenue loss for the most part anyway and Al-Jazeera is tough to get in the states. Its easier to get in Europe, but I doubt they need an working english site to get more subscribers.
posted by skallas at 8:52 PM on April 4, 2003


You're also very good at pretending to be an asshat. What an effective parody!
posted by dhartung at 8:52 PM on April 4, 2003


Andy Kaufman picture on my wall....
posted by ParisParamus at 8:54 PM on April 4, 2003


A-J's English web site is still very much up.

I see the home page, I click on a link and get an empty page. Anyone else?
posted by LouReedsSon at 8:55 PM on April 4, 2003


My intention was, and rarely is, to derail a thread.

*snort* *giggle*

We should probably be taking this to MeTa anyway..
posted by Vidiot at 9:14 PM on April 4, 2003


http://english.aljazeera.net/topics/index.asp?cu_no=1&lng=0&template_id=1&temp_type=44
posted by ParisParamus at 9:18 PM on April 4, 2003


Sorry... It was a Mozilla thing.
posted by LouReedsSon at 9:27 PM on April 4, 2003


Well. I think another thing to look at is the fact that Akamai serves up bandwidth, and with all the attention the Al-Jazeera sites have been getting, with the hacking attempts and all that, maybe the bandwidth bill was just too much for Al-Jazeera to handle, and Akamai didn't want to deal with the excess overload?

I doubt it was an outright "well we're at war with the country they're from" decision. But maybe I'm just optimistic.
posted by christian at 9:31 PM on April 4, 2003


who's at war with Qatar?
posted by Vidiot at 9:58 PM on April 4, 2003


LouReedsSon says "offended by the thought of sharing server space with the enemy"

I must have fallen asleep. Did we invade Al Jazeera before Damascus? Why can't I keep up?

(must not flame the ignorant..must hold tongue...)
posted by filchyboy at 10:13 PM on April 4, 2003


You have been asleep! Word from DC is if you ain't with us, you's aginst us! :)
posted by LouReedsSon at 11:42 PM on April 4, 2003


The key point here is that Akamai has yet to explain their action against Al-Jazeera in anything approaching a respectful way. Until they do that, they deserve a massive 'net boycott.

Tick...tock...tick...
posted by mediareport at 11:49 PM on April 4, 2003


mediareport: not in jest, but why a nightclub can refuse someone an admittance based on how they look (i.e. refuse them their business) or even kick that someone out of the club if they don't like how that someone behaves but akamai cannot act according to their preference given the story of danni lewin (and his very much alive widow and family)?
posted by bokononito at 1:14 AM on April 5, 2003


why shouldn't al jazeera fuck off?
posted by shoos at 1:16 AM on April 5, 2003


why shouldn't al jazeera fuck off?

They should. Slowly and gently.
posted by hama7 at 1:49 AM on April 5, 2003


why should they, shoos?
posted by Vidiot at 1:51 AM on April 5, 2003


Here we go with the 'it's not illegal so they can do what they like' bit. Gotta love that one. Whether it's legal or not, they're still asshats for doing it, and that's what we're talking about and hopefully drawing attention to.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:09 AM on April 5, 2003


skallas, as an ex-nytimes.com sysadmin I can assure you that it is very expensive and takes a lot of time to provide not just the bandwidth but the servers to keep up with the kind of load that a-j is sure to be getting right about now. News-based load is the most expensive kind -- very, very , very high when something happens (like a War) and pretty low when nothing much is going on. It doesn't make total sense to buy all the serving capacity you need at peak times. Also, if you distribute your somewhat complex site over many servers you need to:

Buy more boxes. (lots of money)
Prep the boxes. (lots of time)
Sign contracts with Colo. (might be hard if you are a major hack-risk.)
Get the hardware to the colo and hook it up. (even more time)
Buy firewalls (colo won't give you these, usually)
Configure firewalls (need to do a wicked good job, time)
code up a way to update all your servers when your site changes (some more time)
configure load balancers (which are also fantastically expensive... $20,000+ each or so and are notoriosly hard to set up just right. You'll need at least two per location.)
Make your DNS changes, making sure that all the poorly configured DNS servers in the world (read: AOL's, Time-Warner Cable's, etc.) are updated by tracking down their admins, etc. (more time.)
Then maintain the whole thing. (Don't get me started on this one.)

Then repeat each of these things for each additional location!

Or you can Akamaize, and serve your whole site off of a few boxes. Akamaization can theoretically be done by a competent web developer in a day or so, and costs much much less (at least in the short term.) AT&T and IBM used to offer competing services, though... so it isn't like it is Akamai or nothing, at least it wasn't before I left the industry.
posted by n9 at 5:37 AM on April 5, 2003


The English home page is up, but that's all. I guess this thread brought it down....
posted by ParisParamus at 5:48 AM on April 5, 2003


I have nothing against Muslims or Arabs; and no particular loyalty to Israelis or fellow Jews.

Man, you're right...it's getting drier and wittier by the second!
posted by umberto at 7:47 AM on April 5, 2003


This thread is probably lost to the world, but I'd like to chime in on the Fox News vs. Al Jazzera comparison.

I personally think it's pretty apt. They are both extremely sensationalist news organizations. They are virtually the same with the a different perspective on the world.

My only exposure to A-J is through their website. Reading through it I've become suspicious of the veracity of anything thing that they say, which is very sad since I would like to have a honest counterpoint to Western Journalism. The western media is good as showing us what our side is thinking, but doesn't have the proper frame of reference to address the Iraqi/Middle Eastern issues.

Anyhow, first I read through their News section, reading reports of Iraqi's defeating US tanks and civilian casualties. This is the stuff I expected. Somehow I didn't feel like I was getting the "other side" of the story, I felt like I was being the same bucket loads of propaganda that my FN dishes out with each small sampling of news.

I moved on to the OP/ED pieces. This is really what turned me off. Every single piece had at least one huge inaccuracy that made me cringe. One piece claims from that PFC Lynch was literally the first American casualty of this war. One piece claims that Peter Arnett got fired from the separate companies: MSNBC, NBC, and National Geographic explorer.

There were more, but these two struck me as ridiculous. I wish I could pull up the examples, but A-J's website has totally changed in the past couple of days so I can't find the articles. However these are simple facts that I know to be wholly incorrect. For me that taints the information from the source quite severely.

I spent a year reading the English version of the KCNA webpage. I'm not bothered by the editorial commentary of any news report, which KCNA has in spades. I can't tell you how many stories include the phrase "Imperialist America". However anything I read in that paper that I hadn't heard of in the States was easily verifiable. I felt that at least the facts could support their arguments based on their position.

Fox News is just as bad on the propaganda. They are always the first to push the idea that any unidentified white powders "might" be chemical or biological weapons. They reported that there had been SCUD missiles launched at one point. Their commentators don't have any better of a grasp on any given situation in Iraq as an astute viewer. I do have to give them credit for at least making and reporting more accurate corrections when they are disproven by other sources. This doesn't really strike me as more honest than A-J, it seems like they American way to cover your lies. Once you've planted the idea in a good portion of the the country that it's sure that we've found Iraq's hidden chemical weapons the damage has been done. There are going to be some people who will continue to believe it, even though Fox is now reporting something else.

I don't think it should surprise anyone that the news broadcast that plays to the prejudices, capitalizes on the fears, and sensationalizes the dangers in the minds of the viewers are the most popular to their respective audiences.
posted by betaray at 10:47 AM on April 5, 2003


One piece claims that Peter Arnett got fired from the separate companies: MSNBC, NBC, and National Geographic explorer.

MS/NBC and Nat'l Geo fired him pretty much simultaneously. That's factual. You can Google it.
posted by donkeyschlong at 10:59 AM on April 5, 2003


I'm a M-B ENFP.

You're a wanker.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:16 AM on April 5, 2003


donkeyschlong: That's true, but not really my point of disagreement. The article represented NBC, MSNBC, and National Geographic explorer as three separate organizations to support the notion that there's wider conspiracy forcing these "companies" to silence the reporters.

That's not a realistic version of what happened. They are not separate entities. However it's being used for arguments for people who may not be able or might not consider to verify that point.

hehehe, the spell checker suggests replacing "MSNBC" with the word "snob".
posted by betaray at 11:23 AM on April 5, 2003


Akamai is a business. As a business, it has the right to do, or not to do, business with any other company. And like any other company, it usually strikes agreements with other businesses that have termination clauses. They don't need to explain this business decision to the world any more than they need to explain a hundred other business decisions they make every single day. I think it's silly folks are upset about this. It's no different than your typical ISP refusing to host porn or questionable content. They may take you on as a customer, but once they realize the impact of your business, they may decide to cancel the contract.
posted by docjohn at 11:35 AM on April 5, 2003


Akamai is a business. As a business, it has the right to do, or not to do, business with any other company...They don't need to explain this business decision to the world any more than they need to explain a hundred other business decisions they make every single day.

Ignoring the larger context here is absurd, docjohn; this is clearly a case with serious implications for the availability of online information. No one's denying Akamai's right to act however it chooses (in the face of political pressure or not), just as no one should deny the right of consumers to put their own kind of pressure on companies that sell out the idea of a truly open internet.

Does anyone who's rejoicing over this really believe it's a good thing for English-speaking Americans to *not* know what much of the Muslim world is reading and watching? Why on earth would anyone rejoice over *that*?
posted by mediareport at 12:33 PM on April 5, 2003


n9, excellent post. I was trying to express that it probably isn't in al-jazeera's interest to provide an english site read mostly by Americans when its so hard to get the channel in the US. Ideally the site would create more subscribers by interest alone.

Sadly, now that Akamai is out of the game, it probably won't happen. For the record I haven't gotten a successful page load of english.aljazeera.com since it was announced last week.

>as an ex-nytimes.com sysadmin

Okay, spill the beans. What the heck are they going to do with all the personal information they collect? I don't know anyone who has put his or her real information in there.
posted by skallas at 5:03 PM on April 5, 2003


Sadly, now that Akamai is out of the game, it probably won't happen. For the record I haven't gotten a successful page load of english.aljazeera.com since it was announced last week.

that would be because the correct url is english.aljazeera.net
posted by donkeyschlong at 5:11 PM on April 5, 2003


>that would be because the correct url is english.aljazeera.net

Yes I know. That's a typo, not a copy and paste. Same error as always:

Service Unavailable
posted by skallas at 5:16 PM on April 5, 2003


hmm. that's odd. i've been able to reach it just fine. i wonder if the dns is still propagating?
posted by donkeyschlong at 5:38 PM on April 5, 2003


Whatever, Paris. You're a crank on the loose, spoiled by a culture which, right now, tolerates a fair amount of Arab-bashing. It's encouraging to see that others realize this.

If this is your idea of comedy writing, keep the day job.
posted by scarabic at 12:40 PM on April 6, 2003


The director of the a-j english language site reported on the NPR program "On the Media" today that the attack had been both a DDos and a Domain Name heist. She said that DNS repropigation is happening now.
posted by n9 at 11:21 PM on April 6, 2003


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