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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: March 30, 2022

Coverage of President Biden’s Europe Trip Draws Record Traffic to Russian and Ukrainian Sites

VOA Russian hit the highest mark in daily traffic to its website in the last five years with more than 1 million visits, and VOA Ukrainian was the primary source of information on President Biden's historic meeting with NATO allies and his visit to Poland, clearly demonstrating VOA content is reaching target audiences despite Russia’s ban. Both services carried President Biden's and NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg’s press conferences at NATO live with simultaneous translation, as well as Biden’s speech in Poland. Biden’s speeches were followed by live discussion shows, where experts analyzed the trip and its impact. The services’ comprehensive coverage garnered more than 2.6 million views and more than 60,000 interactions across social media.

VOA's Coverage in English of President Biden's Trip to Europe Generates Sizeable Digital Engagement

News Center reporters accompanied President Biden throughout his visit to Brussels and Poland, generating heavy traffic on social media and the English website. On YouTube, Henry Ridgwell’s TV report on Biden’s landmark address in Warsaw generated 266,000 views and 3,500 comments. Myroslava Gongadze’s report from Warsaw National Stadium before Biden met with Ukrainian refugees had 43,000 views, while a video of President Biden meeting U.S. troops had 120,000 views and 2,000 comments. A similar video had 38,000 views and 2,500 engagements on Facebook, where a story on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelinskyy’s address to NATO had more than 2,300 engagements.

Afghan Service Officially Launches Satellite Channel After the Taliban Banned VOA's Broadcasts

Following the cessation of VOA broadcasts in Afghanistan, a new VOA stream identified as “VOA Afghanistan" has begun broadcasting 24/7 for Afghan audiences on the Yahsat satellite, a popular platform in the country. Satellite broadcasts for Afghanistan are also available on VOA Dari and Pashto websites and VOA Dari and Pashto YouTube channels. Additionally, the Afghan service has launched special landing pages on freedom of expression on the Dari and Pashto websites, regularly covering news on the status of press freedom in Afghanistan. In an interview to VOA Afghan, Ambassador Ryan Crocker commented on Taliban's isolation worldwide, adding that "it would be a great mistake" to recognize their regime.

Half-Hour Special on Ukrainian Refugees Applauded by Spanish Service Affiliates

VOA Spanish's program “Lives on pause,” illustrated the effects of the war in Ukraine on the most vulnerable members of society: refugee children, women and elderly. Major affiliates aired the program. "Excellent material from the Voice of America," is the consensus. In the Poland-Ukrainian border, Celia Mendoza and Julia Riera collected testimonies of those fleeing, while reporters in the region focused on families looking to reach their loved ones and the personal toll of the war. The multimedia program was produced in less than a week and has garnered more than 486K views on Facebook and more than 38K views on YouTube.

VOA Mandarin’s Exclusive Interview with Former National Security Advisor Generates Audience Interest

VOA Mandarin’s interview with former national security advisor John Bolton scored big, exceeding 300,000 views on YouTube and Twitter combined. Topics included the Ukraine conflict and his observations of Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. Bolton cited the “entente” in Sino-Russian ties, noting China is helping offset sanctions against the Kremlin. However, he noted that Beijing is watching international reaction to avoid mistakes made by Moscow and it is calculating its moves on Taiwan. Advocating U.S. diplomatic recognition of the island, Bolton said Taiwan should join Washington’s alliance against Chinese threats in the Indo-Pacific region.

Interview with Somaliland President Generates Increase in Digital Reach and Views

Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi spent a week in Washington making the case that the U.S. should become the first country to recognize his self-declared state’s independence. During his visit to lobby for a recognition, he granted VOA Somali an on-camera sit-down interview. President Abdi said that U.S. lawmakers signaled they wanted the United States to deepen ties with Somaliland, which they view as a “responsible government”. The interview has generated 180k views on Facebook thus far.

VOA Persian's Audience Shows Interest in Programming on Russia-Ukraine War

VOA Persian continued to provide unbiased news coverage of the on-going war in Ukraine and closely covered President Biden’s trip to Europe, airing two of his speeches live. Biden traveled to Brussels to meet with G7 leaders at NATO, and interacted with US troops and Ukrainian refugees in Poland. VOA Persian interviewed experts on Russia’s military strategy and whether Putin could be charged for war crimes in the International Criminal Court. In addition, VOA Persian's correspondent interviewed Iranians from Ukraine about the war and their life as refugees in Poland. Total digital audience engagement for this programming surpassed 2,005,000.

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.