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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: February 9, 2022

VOA Breaks Sec Def Austin Travel Plan

VOA was first to report that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will visit Europe this month to speak with NATO leaders in Brussels about growing tensions with Russia over Ukraine. John Kirby announced the travel during an interview with Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb. The breaking news was picked up, with credit to VOA, by Reuters, Tass, National Post (Canada), Jerusalem Post, Daily Mail (UK), Ritzau (Denmark), and others. On Tuesday, Carla was interviewed by Sky News Arabia about threats facing U.S. forces in the Middle East, where top officers say Iran is the biggest threat.

VOA Coverage Providing U.S. Position on Ukraine Crisis Draws Viewers in Eurasia

Ukrainian- and Russian-speaking audiences continue to rely on VOA for coverage of the U.S. position on Russia-Ukraine tensions. Value-added coverage included live interactives on Ukrainian TV, interviews with U.S. Ambassador-to-the-OSCE Michael Carpenter and Deputy U.S. Ambassador-to-the-U.N. Jeffrey Prescott, live simultaneous translation in Russian and Ukrainian of the Helsinki Commission hearing on Ukraine and the joint Biden-Scholz White House press conference, livestreamed diaspora protests in support of Ukraine, and reports from the frontline featuring interviews with soldiers and residents. Coverage garnered hundreds of thousands of views and tens of thousands of interactions on social media. The U.S. Mission to the OSCE reposted VOA’s interview with Carpenter on its official Twitter account.

VOA Persian's Special on Nuclear Safety Shows High Audience Engagement

VOA Persian produced a special called "Nuclear Safety: From Isfahan to Tehran" with five experts. Iran ranks 21 in the Nuclear Security Index for security and nuclear control measures. Experts discussed Iran's nuclear program and the lack of transparent oversight or safety measures. Olli Heinonen, former IAEA Deputy Director, wants to see Iran adopt security measures and equipment training and cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Kourosh Shirvan of MIT said that avoiding nuclear accidents in Iran depends on independent nuclear monitoring. Audience engagement on all digital platforms surpassed 878,900.

Women Educators Not Swayed by Latest Taliban Move, Says VOA Afghan

The Taliban have reopened several public universities for both men and women with the requirement of gender-segregated classes. While some praise the move, a former Kabul university law professor, Shahla Farid, tells VOA Afghan the “reopening is not a positive attitude, but just an action in response to pressures from the international community.” She says there's a shortage of professors because “a large number of academics left the country due to Taliban restrictions.” The report, which was re-versioned by VOA’s news center, drew more than 200K viewers on Facebook.

VOA Mandarin's Interview with NBA Player Enes Kanter Freedom Sheds Light on China's Mistreatment of Uighurs

Mandarin’s interview with the Boston Celtics’ Turkish-American star garnered significant audience reach, with 100,000 or more views per video-clip on Twitter. Kanter, who has added “Freedom” to his name, spoke about his campaign to shed light on China’s mistreatment of ethnic minorities like Uighurs – a Turkic minority group in Xinjiang - and voice support for Taiwan and Hong Kong. Urging corporations, celebrities and athletes to opt for principle over profit when doing business with Beijing, he said he may one day run for office.

VOA Creole Features Haiti's First Winter Olympians

VOA Creole hit the slopes with Haiti’s top skiers, Richardson Viano and Mackenson Florindo, representing the Caribbean nation at the Beijing Winter Olympics. VOA Creole’s Paris reporter traveled to Grenoble, France where the teens were training. Viano made history as Haiti’s first athlete to qualify for a Winter Olympics. He told VOA that his Olympic debut “sends a message to believe in yourself and never give up.” The reports, were re-posted on Instagram by the Haitian Olympic Committee and shared with affiliates in Haiti, VOA Spanish, VOA Afrique and Central News. The coverage garnered 80,000 views on Facebook.

Audiences Praise VOA Coverage of Zimbabweans’ Community Work

VOA Zimbabwe’s Studio 7 listeners have lauded the program for highlighting Australian diaspora members’ support for borehole wells in a Bulawayo suburb. The wells, drilled by the NGO Creative Passionate Women, are intended to curb water-borne diseases. “I wish to thank Studio 7 for the good work in telling us about community things and everything about Zimbabwe. Great work by Zimbabweans living in Australia,” Tony Sibanda posted on a VOA Ndebele Facebook livestream. The effort aims to help 16,000 people in Tshabalala township, where mainly women walk long distances to draw water.

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.