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New VOA Mobile Phone Videos Let Kenyans Speak Their Mind


News goes with the audience

Washington, D.C., June 15, 2010 – The Voice of America Swahili Service announces the launch of Mitaani, or From the Streets, a new video feature produced exclusively for mobile phone users in Kenya and other parts of Africa.

The short video reports, which debuted on the VOA Swahili mobile site this week, can also be viewed on the Swahili Service website: http://www.voaswahili.com.

"Our audience uses mobile phones to get news, get health information and to share their thoughts about events that affect their lives," says VOA Africa Division Director Gwen Dillard. "Features designed especially for cell phones help to make that possible," Dillard adds. And she says, "We're committed to bringing people mobile news and programs that go where they go."

The Swahili-language features are shot by three mobile journalists in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu using pocket-sized video cameras. The features capture the opinions of average Kenyans who are invited to comment on political and social issues facing the nation.

Upcoming topics include the World Cup, proposed changes to Kenya's constitution, and the sex trade in Mombasa.

"In Africa people consume information through mobile devices, rather than the Internet," said Steven Ferri, VOA Africa Division Senior Web Editor. "It is very natural for us to offer this type of program."

Mobile phone users can find Mitaani at http://sw.voa.mobi. VOA’s Swahili Service first introduced news content via mobile phone earlier this year. For a list of other VOA language services, go to www.voanews.com.

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 125 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages and are intended exclusively for audiences outside of the United States.

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

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