VOA Draws Millions Seeking Fact-Based Coverage of U.S. Perspectives on Russia-Ukraine War
Audiences continue to engage with VOA’s social media platforms as Moscow steps up its attacks against Ukraine and tightens access to independent media, with VOA Russian and Ukrainian registering millions of views and tens-of-thousands of interactions. This week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's video address to the U.S. Congress was streamed live during VOA Ukrainian's special 1.5-hour live program that was distributed on VOA's platforms, a dedicated satellite channel and 15 media outlets in Ukraine, including Channel 24, Channel 5, Novoye Vremya, Channel NTA (Lviv), Skrypin, Frontnews, Bukinfo, Galinfo, Tsn, Ukranews, Argumentua and Radio NV. The service also conducted a live interactive from Congress for Ukrainian TV channel ICTV. Coverage also included an interview with U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE). “The United States Congress was called on today and the United States government were called on today to act like a superpower, and we should be doing more,” Senator Sasse told VOA. VOA Russian's special live broadcast, distributed via the Current Time digital network and VOA Russian platforms, offered simultaneous translation of President Zelenskyy's speech in Russian. VOA Russian correspondents appeared live from Capitol Hill and the White House before and after the speech with a preview and explaining the significance of the address to Congress. The service followed the speech with a live discussion featuring experts Mikhail Alexseev and Olena Lennon of the University of New Haven. Both VOA Ukrainian and Russian also provided President Biden's live, simultaneously translated address in which he announced approval of new military aid to Ukraine. The stream was also re-broadcast by Current Time in Russian, VOA affiliate stations and RFE/RL in Ukrainian. VOA Ukrainian’s 1-hour-37-minute special live coverage, of President Biden’s speech was available on satellite, web, YouTube and Facebook and was re-broadcast or shared by eight media outlets, including Channel 5, Channel 24, NTA, Novoye Vremya, Radio NV, Crimea Realities and Donbas Realities. The Ukrainian and Russian services’ coverage of President Zelenskyy’s address and President Biden’s remarks garnered more than 2 million video views across social media platforms.
In addition, the services carried President Biden’s remarks on the Russian oil ban and other sanctions live-with-simultaneous-translation, as well as Vice-President Harris in Poland, Undersecretary-of-State Nuland's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Secretary-of-State Blinken's joint press conference with Britain's foreign secretary. Other highlights included live interactives for Ukrainian TV channels; a story on the removal of the word “Russia" from popular Brighton Beach establishment Taste of Russia that alone garnered 2.1-million views on Facebook; Context, which explained the worldwide popularity of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy; volunteers in Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine; vox-pops from a town near the Poland-Ukraine border; and diaspora protests and community initiatives in Washington, Santa Monica, Silicon Valley and Colorado.
EAP Services’ Coverage of Ukraine Racks Up Significant Audience Numbers
Audiences continued to flock to trusted EAP multi-media platforms for comprehensive, up-to-the-minute and original reporting on the Ukraine conflict. Mandarin’s around-the-clock live blog generated 357,600 page views. VOA Vietnamese interviewed the founder of a youth group in Vietnam raising funds for Ukrainians, as well as a Vietnamese escapee from the war-torn country. The interviews garnered 88,000 total views on Facebook. Khmer’s original story about Cambodians reeling from inflation and rising oil prices, as they experience the global impact of the war, received nearly 40,000 total views within hours on social media.
War in Ukraine Coverage Results in Digital Traffic Increases, Spanish Affiliate Gains
On site reporting at the Ukraine-Poland border and coverage of the crisis has generated more than 2.5 million video views and an uptick of 39% of web traffic. In Poland, VOA Spanish Senior Correspondent Celia Mendoza reported on the ordeal of refugees. In addition to the impact of this war in Latin America, and the arrival of Ukrainians in the region, the service also reported on humanitarian efforts in the U.S., covering the story of a Nicaraguan woman in Los Angeles who joined the effort to help the displaced, as well as demonstrations of solidarity for Ukraine in New York's Little Ukraine.
Original VOA Video from Ukraine Gets High Engagement
Videographer Yan Boechat, who has worked with Heather Murdock in combat zones from Syria to Tigray, stayed behind in Ukraine and spent days in the front-line village of Irpin, sending back still photos and video clips. A video report from Irpin has generated more than 626,000 views and 16,000 engagements on Facebook, numbers that are growing. On the English website, a story asking whether the Ukraine war could lead to a third world war has 170,000 views, while one what the war means for Angela Merkel’s legacy has 97,000 views.
VOA Kurdish Provides Exclusive Coverage of Iran’s Attack on Iraq’s Erbil
VOA Kurdish provided on-the-scene reporting of Iran’s missile attack on Erbil. Governor Omed Khoshnaw, speaking exclusively to VOA, said “this was a terrorist action aimed at the consulates of the U.S. and allied countries, but it missed its targets.” VOA stringer Ahmad Zebari filed a video report from Erbil with civilians who were hurt or lost property. VOA Kurdish also filed a report for VOA’s English website. Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps says it carried out the March 13th attack against Israeli "strategic centers" in Erbil. The service’s overall coverage generated nearly 28K reactions on Facebook.
VOA Somali Interview Generates Traction on Digital Platforms, Pick-ups by Somali Media
Ahead of a much anticipated presidential election, VOA Somali interviewed the President of HirShabelle federal state Yusuf Ahmed Dabageed, who discussed political rivalries among candidates running for office. On Facebook, the interview received more than 170k views, and it was carried by several Somali digital outlets, including Hiiraan.com, Garoweonline.com, radiodalsan.com, keydmedia.net, allbanaadir.org, warqaad.info and warkii.com.
VOA Persian’s International Women’s Day Special Resonates with Audience
For International Women’s Day, VOA Persian produced a special program on women in Iran, looking at statistical studies and interviewing eight women’s rights activists. Guests provided analysis of the women’s rights movement in Iran and how a new generation of Iranian women are living despite limitations. Fatemeh Sepehri said that Iranian women are still denied equal rights. Athena Daimi highlighted 32% increase in child marriages. VOA Persian also reported on Ukrainian women’s plight as they made the difficult journey to bordering countries. Audience engagement on all digital platforms surpassed 797,100.
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