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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: January 13, 2022

The Voice of America - A Free Press Matters

Audiences in Eurasia Turn to VOA for Value-added Coverage of Kazakhstan Protests

Close to 2 million viewers came to VOA Russian's social media platforms for value-added reporting on the deadly protests in Kazakhstan. Coverage featured an exclusive interview with Kazakh opposition politician and former political prisoner Vladimir Kozlov and analysis by U.S. and international experts, including former Ambassadors to Kazakhstan William Courtney and to Ukraine John Herbst, human-rights activist Evgeny Zhovtis, and experts Andrey Korobkov, Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, Helene Thibault, Peter Pomerantsev, Marius Fossum, Vladislav Inozemtzev, the Carnegie Endowment’s Paul Stronski and Arkady Dubnov, among the first analysts to break the news on the violent unrest in Almaty. VOA Russian also covered diaspora protests supporting Kazakhstan in Los Angeles, Washington and NYC, and carried live-with-simultaneous-translation Secretary of State Antony Blinken's press conference, where he questioned Russia’s reasons for sending troops to Kazakhstan.

Significant Audience Numbers for VOA Mandarin’s Coverage of Xi’an Lockdown

Insight into life under lockdown in a COVID-hit Chinese city through Mandarin’s interviews with locals, hit home with VOA audiences. Among those interviewed was independent investigative journalist Jiang Xue, who posted her account of the chaos of the Xi'an lockdown on Chinese social media. Jiang's chronicle was reminiscent of acclaimed writer Fang Fang’s diary during the Wuhan outbreak, which angered authorities. Airing their grievances against Beijing’s zero-COVID policy, Xi'an residents shared stories of humanitarian crises resulting from government mismanagement during the strict closure. The stories generated nearly 300,000 views on Twitter alone.

VOA's Exclusive Interview with Ukraine's National Security Chief Had Wide International Impact

A multi-division story about Ukraine’s national security chief telling VOA that Kyiv believes Iran’s January 2020 shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane was a premeditated, terrorist act. The story garnered citations from Ukrainian news outlets Kyiv Independent and 112.International, and UAE’s The National. The story, written by the News Center’s Michael Lipin based on interviews by Siamak Dehghanpour of the Persian division and the New Center’s Myroslava Gongadze with additional input from Arash Sigarchi of VOA Persian and Kateryna Lisunova of the Ukrainian service, had more than 4,000 web views and was tweeted by journalists from Canada’s CBC, to Germany’s ZDF as well as CNN.

VOA Persian’s Special on Second Anniversary of Flight 752 Shootdown Resonates with Viewers

VOA Persian produced a special on the victims of Flight 752 on the second anniversary of the shootdown of the plane by the Islamic Republic. The special commemorated the victims’ lives, as family members shared their stories. VOA’s camera crew traveled to Canada and interviewed 20 relatives who lost family in the crash. Ramin Haghjoo reported from the memorial service in Toronto. The interviews, both in-person and via skype, resonated strongly with viewers. Audience engagement was substantial, with more than 2.59 million total views on all digital platforms.

Pakistan Snow Tragedy Draws Significant Audiences to VOA Urdu and Deewa

More than 2 million social media users turned to VOA Urdu and VOA Deewa for their comprehensive coverage of the deadly weather tragedy at Murree, a mountain resort in Pakistan. At least 22 people froze to death, when heavy snow trapped them in their vehicles. Both services gathered interviews from reporters, authorities and others on the scene. One eyewitness told VOA Urdu the blizzard caught tourists by surprise. The interview received 1.1 million Facebook views. VOA Deewa’s profile of a young father who died attracted more than 1 million viewers on Facebook. Audiences were highly engaged, leaving tens of thousands of comments, many demanding a full investigation of the incident.

VOA Coverage of Ethiopian Diaspora Drives Online Audiences

Video of Ethiopian diaspora members heading home for the Orthodox Christmas holiday drove traffic on social media platforms with VOA Amharic interviews from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa and video of Ethiopians celebrating their return, drawing more than 140,000 Facebook views.

VOA Creole Highlights Haitian-American Council Member in New Series on Diaspora Community

Boston reporter Erlich Dorelas interviewed Ruthzee Louijeune, the first Haitian-American to be elected to the city's council. Louijeune told VOA how proud she is to represent the city as a Haitian-American. "This is an important moment for me, for my parents who emigrated from Haiti who worked hard and made sacrifices for me and my sisters. Their sharing this moment is very special," Louijeune told VOA. She also outlined some of her priorities for the community she is serving, which includes the local Haitian community.

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.