VOA Marks the Anniversary of the Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan with Special Digital Project
South and Central Asia division led the launch of the special page, “Afghanistan Under Taliban,” to mark a year after the Taliban seized power in that country. The project, which includes several documentaries, features previously untold stories, eyewitness accounts of the day Kabul fell, analytical pieces on Taliban’s governance, and spotlights the refugees' struggles in foreign lands, security challenges, and relations with regional powers. “You have no choice other than saving them,” Colonel Khial Shinwari recalled being asked by his air force commander to help evacuate more than 100 individuals in his C-130 plane. The weeklong coverage garnered nearly 35 million views on Facebook alone, and 600K article views on both VOA Pashto and Dari websites.
Kenya Election Coverage Continues to Produce Strong Digital Metrics
One week after Kenyans cast their votes declaring William Ruto the President-elect, the Africa Division closely monitored the tense situation on all language service Facebook pages. The VOA French live stream by Reuters of the election results announcement was cross-posted by all Africa Division language services and collectively received 100k views, 2.4K peak live viewers, 1.5K comments, and 450 shares. A VOA Swahili video package from Nairobi on misinformation spreading on social media and media houses about election results, has received more than 110k views and 1.8K reactions on Facebook.
VOA's In-Depth Reporting Debunks Russian Claims About the Ukrainian Jewish Community
Debunking Russian propaganda, a story about Jews fleeing Russia for Israel and the impact of the war on the Ukrainian Jewish community received 82k views and 3.1k interactions. The story debunks Putin’s claims that Russian forces are on a mission to de-Nazify Ukraine with evidence that more Jews have fled to Israel from Russia than Ukraine. The story featured two exclusive interviews with one of the Chief Rabbis of Ukraine, Moshe Reuven Asman, and another with Albert Leiser-Feldman, the founder of the Kyiv-based Golda Meir Institute, with material provided by VOA’s Moscow bureau, reporting from Linda Gradstein in Jerusalem, and analysis from Polygraph.info.
VOA Mandarin’s Coverage of Taiwan Strait Crisis Continues to Boost Site Traffic
Audiences flocked to VOA Mandarin’s timely, comprehensive and original reporting on the Taiwan crisis. The service’s coverage included breaking news about U.S. lawmakers’ visit to the island, exclusive on-site reporting, as well as interviews and analysis. An article with two videos on Taiwan’s reaction to China’s provocative rhetoric and extended military exercises garnered 215,000 views and 38,000 engagement actions on Twitter. Taiwan’s foreign ministry rejected Beijing’s “one China, two systems” plan for the island, while President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan does not seek war but is prepared.
Nicaragua Shuts Down VOA Affiliate Amid Year-Long Free Press Crackdown
Marking one year since it confiscated La Prensa newspaper, Nicaragua’s government media crackdown continues with the closure of VOA affiliate Radio Darío, the 17th media outlet forced to cease operations over the last two months. Director Aníbal Toruño vowed: “We’ll continue reinventing ourselves and present the cruel reality the Nicaraguan people are experiencing." VOA's coverage of the development was shared by Cambio Político, El Oriente News, El Político. Harassment and imprisonment threats drove VOA correspondents Donaldo Hernández, Houston Castillo and Miguel Bravo into exile since December 2021. La Prensa’s newsroom now also operates from Costa Rica.
A Congressional Staff Delegation Sees VOA in Action Covering Kenyan Elections
A staff delegation from the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee visited VOA’s Nairobi bureau on the day of Kenya’s high-stakes presidential election, meeting reporters and watching a live Q&A with an affiliate. Donna Charles, head of the delegation, called the visit “very useful” and added, “I am pleased to see how well the new offices meet the needs of your staff." The bureau dominated the English website with its election coverage, running up more than 80,000 views with a series of articles. About 65% of the traffic came from within Kenya, with most of the rest from other African countries.
VOA Persian Covers the March of Families of the Victims of Flight PS752
VOA Persian’s Ramin Haghjoo covered the protest march by the families of the victims of flight PS752, shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp in 2020. The families are marching for 400 km from Toronto to Ottawa to demand justice and action for their loved ones. In addition, Farhad Pouladi reported on the Department of Justice announcement that Shahram Poursafi, a.k.a. Mehdi Rezayi, of the Quds force, attempted to hire someone to kill former national security advisor John Bolton to avenge Qassem Soleimani’s death. Total audience engagement on all digital platforms surpassed 1,090,480.
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