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VOA Launches First Television Product for Bangladesh


Program will feature interviews of prominent Americans and Bangladeshis, including members of the U.S. Congress, U.S. officials, and Bangladesh officials

Washington, D.C., March 24, 2005 - The Voice of America (VOA) launched Washington Barta (Washington Talk) today, its first television programming exclusively for Bangladesh. The inaugural program featured an exclusive interview with Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Richard Boucher.

"Our weekly Washington Barta is a five to six minute interview with a top newsmaker on issues concerning U.S.-Bangladesh relations, South Asia, and the people of Bangladesh," said VOA Director David Jackson. "VOA's Bangla radio programs have been so popular over the years that about 1,000 VOA fan clubs have been created by people who enjoy listening to our programs. Now we've got something from VOA for them to see on television too."

In an agreement with NTV, a major 24-hour news and entertainment satellite channel based in Dhaka, Washington Barta will air every Friday at 11:20 p.m. (Dhaka time), following NTV's nightly news, and will repeat on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. (Dhaka time).

VOA's well-known Bangla broadcaster Iqbal Bahar Choudhury hosts the show from VOA headquarters in Washington, D.C. Choudhury, who has been a radio and TV broadcaster since 1949, when he was a child broadcaster, has interviewed every head of government in the history of Bangladesh since 1971, including the founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Future shows will feature interviews of prominent Americans and Bangladeshis, including members of the U.S. Congress, U.S. officials, and Bangladesh officials.

VOA's Bangla Service also broadcasts 90 minutes of radio programming daily. VOA Bangla Service has been on the air since 1958. Additional information can be found at: www.VOANews.com/Bangla/

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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