Accessibility links

Breaking News

VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: January 6, 2022

VOA Offers American Expert Insights on President Biden's Calls with Putin, Zelensky

VOA Russian provided in-depth analysis across digital platforms on last week's Biden-Putin call, where President Biden warned his Russian counterpart there would be "severe sanctions" if Russia invaded Ukraine again. Experts included Georgetown University’s Angela Stent, Daniel Treisman of UCLA, Stratfor Eurasia analyst Matthew Orr, the Atlantic Council’s Melinda Haring, the Hudson Institute’s Richard Weitz, the American Enterprise Institute’s Elisabeth Braw and Andrea Kalan at the State Department. Coverage, which also included the Ukrainian service’s reporting on Biden’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, garnered more than 105,000 views and more than 10,000 interactions on digital platforms and was picked up by more than 80 media outlets in Ukraine.

VOA Mandarin’s Reporting on COVID-19 Origins a Social Media Hit

Mandarin’s in-depth coverage of the controversy over the origins of the new coronavirus continues to attract audiences. Reporting included interviews with retired Harvard immunology professor Li Dunhou and Huang Zhihuan, director of Georgetown University’s Department of International Health. Both experts said that until proven otherwise, the hypothesis is that COVID-19 came from animals or a laboratory leak. They said scientists’ investigation into the virus' origins must be free from Chinese government coercion and international political pressure. The interviews garnered 80,000 total views on Twitter alone.

Afghan Pop Star Speaks Exclusively to VOA After Nod from Secretary Blinken

Aryana Sayeed gushed to VOA Afghan after U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken added her song, “Nafasam,” to his Spotify playlist. Sayeed, who’s known as the “Voice of Afghanistan,” urged Secretary Blinken not to let popular music die under the Taliban regime. Both the original report and Sayeed’s reaction generated more than 277k views and 2.8K comments on VOA Dari’s Facebook page. Sayeed was evacuated from Kabul in August and now lives in the United States. Blinken also selected songs from other South & Central Asian singers, including ones from Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

VOA French-to-Africa Report on Death of Popular Self-Defense Leader Draws Online Audiences

Following its original television broadcast, a VOA Afrique video about a self-defense force leader who was killed in an ambush in northern Burkina Faso as he was escorting a traders’ convoy, received more than one million views on Facebook in less than a week. A VOA Afrique stringer filed the story of Ladji Yoro, a member of a self-defense force staffed by civilian volunteers. His passing was mourned by the entire country as he was well-known for his commitment to fight terror groups.

VOA Persian's Reporting on Detainee Conditions in Iran Draws Significant Audience

VOA Persian reported on the ongoing detention of human rights activist Narges Mohammadi and French tourist Benjamin Briere in Iran. Mohammadi’s family and others stated on social media that she remains in solitary confinement. Briere's sister Blandine Briere told VOA: "We haven’t spoken to him in 3 weeks. This is psychological torture for him and his family in France.” Briere began his hunger strike when denied phone communication with family. According to Human Rights Activists News Agency's (HRANA) editor Rezvaneh Mohammadi, human rights violations of prisoners in Iran have increased. Audience engagement on all digital platforms for this story, surpassed 636,900.

VOA Spanish Features Venezuelan Teenager Who Discovered an Asteroid

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently certified a 13-year-old Venezuelan boy for the discovery of an asteroid. Miguel Rojas from Barquisimeto, Venezuela, explained to VOA Spanish how he discovered asteroid 2021GG40, last April. This particular celestial object orbits between the planets Mars and Jupiter. Rojas explained how he analyzed images with a special computer program and talked about how he is now managing all the fame this discovery has brought him. The certificate he received is signed by NASA and the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Astronomy.

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.