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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: February 2, 2022

UN Taliban Coverage Nets Worldwide Pickups

Norway Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere found himself on the defensive during a visit to New York last week, assuring human rights groups that a meeting his country had hosted between the Taliban and Afghan civil society representatives did not amount to recognition of the de facto government in Kabul. U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer tipped off Islamabad-based Ayaz Gul to Stoere’s remarks and Gul wrote up the story, garnering pickups from at least half a dozen Asian, European and U.S. outlets including Nation World News; Noovel; Hindi News; Newsbreak; Albuquerque Express; and Daily Advent.

VOA’s Value-added Coverage of Escalating Ukraine-Russia Tensions Engages Audience

VOA's Russian and Ukrainian Services’ wall-to-wall coverage of the Ukraine crisis generated wide interest, garnering more than 275,000 views and more than 23,400 interactions on social media. Highlights include Secretary Blinken’s remarks about a written response to Russia's concerns broadcast live with simultaneous translation, an interview with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand(D-NY), and live coverage of a rally at the White House in support of Ukraine. Coverage also featured a congressional visit to Kyiv, including statements by Representatives Mark Green (R-TN), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Victoria Spartz (R-IN); live interactives for Ukrainian affiliates; a podcast about international media coverage of the crisis; and vox-pops on the streets of Washington.

Spanish Service's Ukraine Coverage Garners Significant Audience Reach

VOA Spanish provided daily monitoring of the escalation of the Ukraine-Russia conflict and its potential global impact. Service reporters offer daily live-reporting segments for affiliates on diplomatic negotiations in Washington, D.C., and the UN. All platforms offered interviews, breaking news from the White House, Department of Defense, the State Department and Congress. The content includes contextual, explanatory segments on the reasons and development of the conflict. An explainer aired on the weekly news analysis TV program Foro explaining the keys to understanding the tension between Russia and Ukraine reached 672K views on FB.

VOA Urdu Helps Re-unite Two Brothers After 76 Years of Separation

Audiences reacted enthusiastically when VOA Urdu interviewed Sika and Muhammed, two brothers separated by the 1947 partition, who spoke of their desire to visit each other. VOA Urdu’s report reached some 205K viewers on Facebook and was tweeted by noted personalities, including Pakistan's former Ambassador to Washington, Jalil Jilani, who reached out to VOA, wanting to help re-unite Sika in India with Muhammed in Pakistan. In a follow up story, VOA Urdu reports Pakistan officials granted have Sika’s visa so the brothers spend time together after 76 years apart.

Online Coverage of Burkina Faso Coup Generates Higher than Average Audience Numbers

Videos and articles produced by VOA French and VOA Bambara on the latest developments in Burkina Faso performed significantly above average, with videos registering an aggregate total of more than 1 million views on Facebook and other digital platforms. Articles, videos and audiograms – produced using the new Headliner app – chronicled on-the-ground events that over several days quickly went from an alleged coup to the new military junta’s leader appearing on state TV to appeal for international support.

VOA Mandarin’s Exclusive Interview with Chinese-American Olympian Scores Big

Mandarin’s coverage in the run-up to the much-anticipated Beijing Winter Olympics gained a lot of traction on all digital platforms, with original stories garnering significant audience numbers. The service’s interview with 17-year-old skier and first-time Olympian Kai Owens generated 110,000 views on Twitter alone. Abandoned in China as an infant, she was raised in the United States after being adopted by an American couple. She told VOA that returning to China, where she is proud to represent the US in the prestigious games, will be a “full circle” moment for her.

VOA Persian Produces a Special on the Recent Wave of Teachers’ Protests in Iran

VOA Persian produced a special on the teachers’ protests in Iran. Teachers held rallies and sit-ins in hundreds of cities, demanding wage equalization and other civic demands. Guests discussed the reasons behind the teachers’ protests: Rasoul Badaghi said that the Islamic Republic is opposed to education because it seeks ignorance and intimidation. “Our goal is to encourage people to be free and rational.” Mahdieh Golroo said that the Islamic Republic is afraid of teachers’ union activities. Audience engagement for this special totaled more than 449,600 across all digital platforms.

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.