VOA Russian and Ukrainian Hit Record-High Viewership
VOA’s Russian and Ukrainian services have hit record highs since the start of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine, as their target audiences seek fact-based news and information amid the devastation. From 2/23-3/3, as compared to the same period prior (1/16-2/22), VOA Russian registered a 208 percent increase in website visits (5.8 million), 196 percent increase in article views (5.4 million), 234 percent increase in social engagement actions (5.6 million) and 245 percent increase in video views (86.5 million); and VOA Ukrainian an 88 percent increase in website visits (1.7 million), 139 percent increase in social interactions (2.2 million) and 171 percent increase in video views (21.2 million). This week's coverage includes reports from the shattered city of Irpin and a village near Kyiv; interviews with Ukrainian Catholic Archeparch of Philadelphia Borys Gudziak, former Ukrainian foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin, a journalist from Mariupol and American volunteers in Ukraine, diaspora protests in support of Ukraine; and live simultaneous translations of statements by U.S. and U.N. officials.
Millions Touched by VOA Vietnamese Interview with Boy in War-Torn Ukraine
A VOA Vietnamese live interview with a 10-year-old Vietnamese-Ukrainian boy in Kharkiv hit home with audiences. The boy and his family have been sheltering underground much of the time to escape Russian bombardment. He asked VOA to relay his message to Vladimir Putin that Russian leaders are to blame for the suffering and losses in Ukraine and that the war should stop. The 8-minute interview was an instant hit, pulling in 4,000 live views on Facebook. Viewership totaled 1.5 million on Facebook alone, with 48,500 total engagements within hours.
VOA's Fact-Checking Website Debunks Repeated Russian False Claims About the War in Ukraine
The News Center’s fact-checking Polygraph.info website has been working overtime to debunk a blizzard of false claims from Russia and its ally China about the war in Ukraine. Among the most widely read were articles knocking down Russian claims that the war is going “according to plan” (6,000 views) and that the goals of the first stage of the operation have been met (4,300 views), as well as a Chinese claim that many Europeans disapprove of U.S. arms shipments to Ukraine (1,800 views). A new fact-check posted Tuesday dissected Russian claims that photos of dead bodies in Bucha had been faked.
VOA’s Coverage of Pakistan Political Crisis Draws Heavy Traffic to Urdu and Deewa Platforms
VOA Urdu and Deewa's coverage of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s bold move to thwart a no-confidence vote in Parliament resulted in a combined total of 11 million views on Facebook. In addition, the services saw a nearly 30% increase in engagement on Facebook and other social media platforms. Urdu’s coverage included Facebook lives and interviews with political party leaders Malika Bukari and Bilawal Bhutto. Deewa’s interview with U.S. policy analyst Lisa Curtis was picked up by Pakistani and Indian media outlets, Express Tribune, Newsroom Post, Times Bureau and Business Standard.
Spanish Service Coverage of Upcoming U.S. Immigration Changes of Great Interest to the Audience
VOA Spanish responded to Latin American audience's interest in the rescinding of the Title 42 exclusion of the U.S. code, a pandemic era emergency rule which allowed the deportations of immigrants at the U.S. border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs, Luis Miranda, told VOA, “It is important to recognize that it is still possible to deport people who cannot establish a legal basis to remain in the U.S." VOA deployed a team to the San Diego – Tijuana border to document how authorities, NGOs, immigrants and locals view the situation and is providing media partners with 50+ daily live shots from location.
Human Interest Story of Zimbabwe Woman Generates Strong Audience Reaction
A VOA Zimbabwe story on a woman stranded in the UK after her appeal went unheeded, generated strong reaction on digital platforms. Joice Nkiwane appealed for assistance because her key sponsor in the UK is bedridden. Studio 7 and reporter Ezra Tshisa Sibanda were praised for highlighting her plight after the video was posted on VOA Ndebele’s Facebook. “Thanks Ezra Tshisa Sibanda for always helping the needy. We are happy to have a person like you....The great work you are doing is supposed to be done by the government,” wrote Shepherd Ncube.
VOA Persian’s Special on the 1979 Iranian Revolution Engages the Audience
VOA Persian aired a special with Elahe Boghrat, editor-in-chief of Kayhan London, and Abdul Ali Barzargan, a political activist, who provided analysis on the 1979 Revolution and why the religious party was able to seize power. Ms. Boghrat said that the revolution was a reaction against the monarchy that failed to address democracy or freedom. Mr. Barzargan agreed that people were united in their dissatisfaction. VOA also polled viewers on Twitter and Telegram about the Islamic Republic: 71% of them voted for change. Total digital audience engagement for this program surpassed 541,200.
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