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VOA Launches Urdu TV for Pakistan


Beyond the Headlines airs Monday through Friday on GEO TV in Pakistan

Washington, D.C., Nov. 14, 2005 - The Voice of America (VOA) will launch Beyond the Headlines-its new television program in Urdu-on Monday, Nov. 14. The half-hour program will air on GEO TV in Pakistan at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on selected international satellites, including AsiaSat (Virtual Channel 409) and IOR (Virtual Channel 420).

Beyond the Headlines (Khabron se Aage), a fast-paced, contemporary production designed with young and urban Pakistanis in mind, will continue VOA's 63-year tradition of broadcasting accurate and balanced information. Programs will examine international developments, technology, politics, social issues, education, religion, sports, and entertainment.

"We look forward to opening this important new channel of communication between the American people and Pakistan," said Steven J. Simmons, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which oversees all United States international radio and television services. Simmons is chairman of the BBG's Voice of America Committee, and has played a key role in increasing radio and TV service to Pakistan, including Beyond the Headlines.

"We're particularly delighted with our partnership with GEO TV, the leading cable/satellite broadcaster in the Urdu language," Simmons added. "This new program, together with our expanded radio service, demonstrates our growing commitment to reach the people of Pakistan with new, engaging programs on both radio and TV."

"The links between Pakistan and the United States are strong and growing, and our new show is a reflection of that," said VOA Director David S. Jackson. "Beyond the Headlines will focus not only on the big issues of the day, but also on features, business, and culture stories that illuminate the world we live in. For example, we'll show how Pakistanis live and work and go to school in the U.S. We want to provide a unique mix of stories that viewers can't find anywhere else."

Farah Ispahani is the managing editor and executive producer for Beyond the Headlines. She joined VOA earlier this year, bringing more than 20 years of experience in print and television media at such news organizations as CNN, ABC, and NBC. Before she joined VOA, Ispahani, who is a fluent Urdu speaker, was instrumental in the launch of CNN's Paula Zahn Now and Anderson Cooper 360.

Anchoring Beyond the Headlines will be Aneka Osman. A familiar face to Pakistanis, Osman worked as an English language news anchor on Pakistan Television. She has covered regional and national security issues, Pakistan-India relations, the conflict in the Middle East, and Pakistan's general elections. She has also worked on Prime Television, the UK-based Pakistani channel, and on the Business Plus Channel.

Ayaz Gul is VOA Urdu's Chief Reporter and Pakistan Coverage Coordinator for Radio Aap ki Dunyaa (Your World Radio), VOA's Urdu radio service, and Beyond the Headlines. Gul, who is based in Pakistan, has been filing on-the-scene reports in Urdu and English for VOA since 1996, and his reports are translated into numerous languages throughout VOA. Prior to joining VOA, he worked for the Japanese network NHK and for the German news agency DPA as a reporter specializing in Pakistan's foreign and domestic news.

VOA's Urdu Service broadcasts 12 hours a day of news and information to millions of Pakistanis and other Urdu speakers on Radio Aap ki Dunyaa. The program is distributed by medium wave at 972 kHz, digital audio satellite, the Internet and a three-hour shortwave broadcast. The launch of Beyond the Headlines adds two-and-half hours of television to the Urdu Service's weekly broadcast schedule.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or E-Mail publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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