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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: April 14, 2022

VOA Reporting Captures Atrocities Committed by Russian Forces in Ukraine

VOA Ukrainian obtained and aired original real-time footage of the deadly rocket attack at the Kramatorsk railway station and of the destruction of the towns of Borodyanka and Bucha, near Kyiv, garnering more than half-a-million video views and 14,000 interactions on social media. Widely quoted by media platforms across Ukraine, exclusive video by the service’s stringer captured people just minutes prior to the strike at the crowded Kramatorsk station and immediately following, including eyewitness accounts describing the panic and chaos. VOA Ukrainian also interviewed journalist Oleksij Merkulov, who provided the video and witnessed the attack that killed at least 50 people. The service’s impactful footage from Borodyanka and Bucha, featuring interviews with women and children, documents the devastation and civilian deaths following the withdrawal of Russian troops.

VOA Mandarin’s Interview with Ukrainian MP Draws Heavy Site Traffic

VOA Mandarin’s interview with Ukrainian member of parliament, Oleksandra Ustinova, prompted significant audience engagement, garnering 300,000 views on YouTube and Twitter combined. The politician, who happened to be in the United States when Russia invaded Ukraine, lobbied the U.S. Congress for help to defend her country. Ustinova told VOA she was pleased with the bipartisan support for Ukraine – and lawmakers’ understanding of the situation – but disappointed with bureaucratic delays in relief efforts. She urged world leaders not to appease Moscow and warned that China is playing both sides to its advantage.

VOA's Reporting from Ukraine Drives Digital Traffic in English Platforms

The Ukraine war continues to drive traffic to News Center's platforms. Henry Ridgwell’s TV package on Monday’s talks between Austria's chancellor and Vladimir Putin attracted 133,000 views on YouTube and 31,000 on the English website within 16 hours. His earlier package on the missile attack on a railway station had 164,000 views on YouTube and almost 2,000 comments. Heather Murdock’s TV report from recently liberated Borodyanka had 37,000 YouTube views. Original reporting by Michael Lipin, Tatiana Vorozhko and Igor Tsikhanenka on Belarusians fighting for Ukraine and on Russian trench-digging at Chernobyl produced two of the week’s half-dozen most-viewed web stories.

VOA Deewa and Urdu See Record Digital Gains Amid Pakistan’s Political Upheaval

When Pakistani lawmakers ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan in a no confidence vote, VOA Deewa and VOA Urdu provided on-the-scene coverage via web and social media. The services achieved a combined total of more than 20 million video views on Facebook with more than 1.5 million total interactions. VOA Deewa’s post-vote interview with Khan’s former wife, Reham Khan, earned 2.8 million Facebook views. VOA Urdu’s interview with former prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, scored 221k views. Both services saw continued spikes as Pakistan’s parliament elected Shehbaz Sharif as the new prime minister.

Coverage of New Anti-Gang Law and Threats to Press Freedom in El Salvador Resonates with Audience

Reporters in the U.S. and El Salvador covered the recently approved measure that includes prison sentences of 10 to 15 years for media that reproduce messages from gangs. Press freedom NGOs and journalists have decried the measure as an attack on free speech and part of the government’s harassment of media. In an interview with VOA, Felix Ulloa, the vice president of El Salvador, defended the reform of the penal code, stating that the measure seeks to combat crime. The coverage garnered more than 370k views on VOA Spanish social media platforms.

VOA Coverage of Mali Killings Generates Traction on Digital

VOA Bambara on-the-ground coverage of the killings in the remote town of Moura in Mali has totaled nearly 400,000 views on Facebook. VOA video of the press conference with the army spokesperson reacting to the events has received more than 200,000 views and 13.5k engagement actions. Two other videos covering the developments and reactions from the U.S. have each received nearly 100,000 views.

VOA Persian's Special on Iran’s Hostage Taking Drives Audience Engagement

VOA Persian produced a special called: “Islamic Republic of Hostage Taking” looking at Iran's use of hostages to negotiate and speaking with former hostages and their families. Nizar Zakka, Barry Rosen, Xiyue Wang, Kylie Moore Gilbert and many others spoke out against the Islamic Republic for taking hostages. Jason Rezaian said U.S. officials should explicitly use the term “hostage taking” instead of “unjust detention.” Nahid Dalili called on U.S. officials not to forget about her husband Shahab during nuclear talks. Audience engagement on digital platforms surpassed 1.36 million.

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.