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Obama Inauguration Attracts Millions to VOA


Multimedia coverage reaches around the world

Washington, D.C., January 22, 2009 - In Indonesia, more than 600 radio and television stations carried the Voice of America's (VOA) special inaugural programs, bringing news and information about President Obama to millions of people in the country with the largest Muslim population.

In Pakistan, VOA's Urdu Service linked up with state and private networks for live coverage. In Mongolia, inauguration ceremonies were seen on TV everywhere, thanks to VOA. And in Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria and Zambia, radio and television stations used VOA extensively.

Around the world, Tuesday's inauguration of Obama, the 44th U.S. president, attracted large VOA audiences who tuned in, listened to or read about the history-making events on the steps of the Capitol and the Mall.

"President Obama's inauguration generated huge audiences for VOA," said VOA Director Danforth Austin. "But the international interest won't stop this week. Every single movement the President makes will be watched by the world - and we will be there to cover it," he said.

More than 200 VOA journalists covered the inaugural events, with VOA translating the inaugural speech into 45 languages, providing it to more than 134 million people who obtain VOA on a variety of platforms: radio, television and Internet.

In his speech, Obama, the son of a Kenyan who spent part of his youth in Indonesia, addressed Muslims, saying, "We seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

Other highlights:

• VOA's Hindi Service broadcast live segments to Zee-TV from the VOA building's rooftop, overlooking the Capitol.
• VOA's Russian Service streamed video and provided video blogs - vlogs - to YouTube, becoming one of YouTube's most-watched Russian sites.
• VOA's French to Africa Service was live in Mali, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo and on Radio France International.
• VOA's Mandarin Service did questions-and-answers with Singapore's MediaCorp TV, wrapping up the inauguration.
• Cambodia's national TVK network started airing VOA reports in Khmer with a feature on the inauguration.
• VOA's Creole Service was live across Haiti on Radio National Haiti.
• VOA's English Division provided streaming video and audio feeds on VOANews.com and USAVotes2008.com. And VOA broadcast on its partner channel, YouTube.com/voavideo.
• In two key countries, Iran and Afghanistan, VOA produced a series of inaugural specials by Persian News Network (PNN) and Radio/TV Ashna.

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 approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail askvoa@voanews.com.


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