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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: April 21, 2022

VOA’s Content Goes Viral as Audiences Seek Fact-Based Reporting on Ukraine War

VOA Ukrainian and Russian’s content on Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine continues to generate millions of views and wide engagement, demonstrating VOA’s compelling impact in the target area. VOA Russian’s Context program on emerging memes following the sinking of the Russian battleship "Moskva" and mini-documentary featuring Russian journalist-turned-fighter Sergey Loiko garnered nearly 5 million views on social media. Interviews with Global Magnitsky Campaign head Bill Browder, Helsinki Commission co-chair Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Editor-in-Chief Andrei Soldatov on the impact of sanctions, Putin’s war crimes and Russian opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza's detention, garnered more than one million views on digital platforms. In twice-daily briefings, interactives with Ukrainian affiliates, interviews with U.S. and Ukrainian officials and Ukrainian Americans, and original social media content, VOA Ukrainian brings U.S. and global perspectives on the war, capturing the aftermath of Russian occupation in northern Ukraine, U.S. military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and first-person accounts from the frontlines. The service’s social media explainer on four scenarios as to how the war could end garnered more than 706K views on Facebook alone.

Spanish Service Coverage of Ukrainian Immigration to U.S. Draws Digital Traffic

VOA Spanish documented how Ukrainians who escaped conflict arrive through the U.S.-Mexico border. Senior Correspondent Celia Mendoza and producer Nathaly Salas traveled to the area the first week of April to cover the arrival of Ukrainian refugees. They produced more than 70 live and pre-recorded reports to media partners in Latin America as well as reporters notebooks, photo galleries, video packages and content in English for house wide usage. The team explored how immigration has changed the lives of many, as well as the fears and aspirations of the migrants for the future. The reports garnered more than 100k views on social media.

VOA Khmer’s Reporting on Former Cambodian Refugees Helping Ukrainians Scores Big

Khmer’s original story about a group of Cambodians from France who provided assistance to Ukrainian refugees hit home with audiences – generating 125,000 total views on social media. Five Cambodian philanthropists and four monks - who themselves were refugees at one time - traveled to makeshift camps in Hungary to provide food and medicine for those fleeing the war in Ukraine. One monk told VOA some people were seeing Buddhist monks and Cambodians for the first time, but that all had one thing in common – experiencing suffering and foreign invasion.

Coverage of War in Ukraine Main Driver of Increased Traffic to VOA English Website

Traffic to the News Center’s English website has been about 45% higher during the 54 days since Russia invaded Ukraine compared to the previous 54 days. Page views are averaging 158,076 per day since Feb. 24 compared to 107,893 beforehand. A major driver last week was the sinking of the Russian warship Moskva. The News Center was quick to post the first reports, attracting more than 213,000 views on the English website. Henry Ridgwell’s report on the Austrian chancellor’s disconcerting meeting with Vladimir Putin had more than 38,000 views.

Malian Foreign Minister Talks Exclusively to VOA

In an interview from Bamako on Skype with VOA Bambara, Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop denied that Russian paramilitary personnel have been involved in the fight against terrorism and said that the allegations of civilian killings in the center of Mali are not verified. The interview, during which he also discussed the ECOWAS sanctions, generated more than 80k video views and 4,700 engagements. It was cited by Senegalese media outlet SenePlus, and shared by outlets outside of Bamako, including Radio Badeya in Sikasso region and Radio Kaoural located in the Centre Commercial Mopti region.

Coverage of Human Rights Practices in Iran and Exclusive Interviews Resonate with Audience

VOA Persian’s coverage of Iran’s human rights practices engaged the Farsi-speaking audience. Live coverage of Secretary Blinken's remarks on the 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices had 13,000 views on Facebook Live. Mahtab Vahidirad’s report on State Department’s description of human rights violations in Iran attracted 92,567 views on Instagram. VOA Persian was the first Persian-language media outlet to secure exclusive interviews with Nilu and Fanak Mossaheb, daughters of Austrian-Iranian prisoner Massud Mossaheb. Kambiz Tavana’s reports garnered 199,743 Instagram views. Audience engagement on digital platforms surpassed 453,400.

VOA Report on Efforts to Integrate Afghan Former Security Forces Against the Taliban Draws Response

Former Afghan army general Sami Sadat said talks are underway with high-ranking former ANSDF generals and several Afghan politicians to integrate former security forces to fight the Taliban. “After Eid, we will begin operations in three areas: military, political, and civilian,” the general, who was in charge of Kabul security before the city fell to the Taliban in August of 2021, told VOA. In response, Inamullah Samangani, deputy spokesman of the Taliban government, said former Afghan army generals had “no cause for fighting”. The web article generated more than 60,000 views.

VOA Programming Highlights are compiled based on information available from multiple sources at the time of posting. This information constantly evolves. If you intend to cite to information posted in VOA Highlights, please consult VOA Public Relations at to ensure it is accurate and current.