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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: January 20, 2022

VOA Persian’s Special on the Shootdown of Flight 752 Draws High Audience Numbers

VOA Persian aired the special “Flight 752: the Vision of Truth” in which guests used strong language to accuse Iran for the 2020 shootdown of the Ukrainian plane. Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Defense and Security Council of Ukraine, accused Iran’s senior officials of ordering the attack. He said, “This was a terrorist act against a civilian aircraft.” Gyunduz Mamedov, Ukraine’s former deputy prosecutor general, told VOA that the downing of the aircraft will be classified as a war crime. Audience engagement for this show was 1,074,530.

VOA Brings American Official Perspective on Ukraine-Russia Tensions

VOA Ukrainian and Russian Services’ coverage, seen on five Ukrainian national TV networks and drew 2.2 million viewers and more than 284,000 interactions on social media, included live reports from Geneva, simultaneously translated press conferences and interviews with U.S. lawmakers, including Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN), Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and a bipartisan group of senators visiting Kyiv over the weekend – Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) – who spoke about the ongoing threat of new Russian aggression in Ukraine. Additionally, expert analysis was provided by former Ambassador Alexander Vershbow, former assistant secretary of state David Kramer, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Charles Kupchan and Ukraine’s Ambassador to NATO Natalia Galibarenko, among others.

Ecuadoran Environmental Group Praises VOA Reporting on Chinese Predatory Fishing in the Galapagos

The Director of the Galapagos Program of the Jocotoco Foundation, Eliecer Cruz, credits media - including VOA - for raising public awareness on the ecological challenges facing the Reserve. The statement to VOA occurred during the signing of a presidential decree extending protected areas of the islands. "Voice of America did an exceptional job," added Cruz, "the report on Chinese fishing had extensive media coverage, raising awareness, leading to government action.” Floating Swarm is an original VOA Spanish report documenting Chinese fishing fleet massive fishing operation west of the Galapagos Marine Reserve.

VOA Coverage of AFCON Tournament Draws Significant Online Audiences

Africa Division’s programming of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) football championship in Cameroon has increased key VOA online metrics. VOA Hausa led the way with a 72% increase in website traffic, from an average of 57,000 visits/day to more than 98,000 visits/day since the tournament kicked off Jan. 9. The event concludes Feb. 6. The Africa division offers daily coverage on television, radio and digital media. Most services have a special AFCON web section. For each match, social media graphics and updates are provided pre-game, at halftime and post-game.

Wide Following for VOA Khmer’s Coverage of ASEAN Postponing Meeting Over Myanmar

Site traffic soared on Khmer’s reporting about the postponement of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ first ministerial summit of 2022 - with 57,000 audio plays on social media. ASEAN had shunned Myanmar's junta for rebuffing its peace plan, but Cambodia - the body's new chair - invited the country to the political-level meeting. Some ASEAN states opposed this, exposing rifts in the 10-member regional organization. A political analyst told VOA that, without compromises from all parties, the Myanmar crisis will continue.

Extensive Coverage of Infrastructure Issues in Disputed Kashmir Region Garners Social Media Attention

The News Center is providing extensive coverage of China’s expansion of sensitive infrastructure into disputed territory along its Himalayan borders. Filing from Kashmir, reporter Bilal Hussein explained that a Chinese bridge spanning a border lake will let its troops move quickly to any conflict zone; the story had about 3,500 views on the English website – many from India and Pakistan – and more than 1,100 Facebook likes. Anjana Pasricha in New Delhi followed up with a story that ranked in the week's top 10 on the website, and posted another story Tuesday as China extended its efforts into Bhutan.

Medical Specialists Behind Groundbreaking Heart Transplant Surgery Speak to VOA Urdu

VOA Urdu reporters spoke with Pakistani-American researcher and his team members who carried out the pioneer medical procedure in which Maryland resident David Bennett became the first human to successfully receive a heart from a genetically modified pig. "If this succeeds, there will be so many of these organs available, [so] that no person will have to die because there was no available organ," Mohammad Mohiuddin, Director of Xenotransplant Program, told VOA. Dr. Mohiuddin had been involved in transplant research for nearly 30 years before the procedure that made news headlines worldwide.

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.