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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: August 24, 2022

Prominent Media Outlets Quote VOA's Exclusive Interviews with U.S. and Ukrainian Government Officials

Some 400 outlets including Politico, The Daily Beast, the BBC, as well as top-rated news media in Ukraine, cited VOA’s exclusive interview with Ukrainian Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, who spoke of the importance of the U.S. military aid to Ukraine, for the country to defend itself and regain the territory occupied by Russia. The interview had more than 185,000 views on social media. Another exclusive interview - with U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm discussing European energy security and risks to nuclear energy infrastructure posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, garnered more than 80,000 views across platforms. It was cited by more than 60 news outlets.

VOA's Interviews with Former U.S. Military Commanders in Afghanistan Attracts Other Media Interest

The last two commanders to oversee the U.S. military in Afghanistan and the Middle East discussed the impact of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in a Zoom panel hosted by Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb and Afghan Service chief Hasib Alikozai. The discussion, in which former CENTCOM chiefs Gen. Frank McKenzie and Gen. Joseph Votel both rejected the idea that the withdrawal has made the U.S. safer, was streamed live on some VOA social media platforms and was picked up by the Washington Examiner on its website and its Daily on Defense newsletter, which linked to the VOA panel and report.

VOA Urdu's Coverage of Pakistan Anniversary Generates Millions of Views

As Pakistan celebrated the 75th anniversary of its independence, VOA Urdu provided extensive coverage that included special reports and a one-hour documentary. One report featured migrant stories in the aftermath of the India-Pakistan partition, while the documentary on the first decade of Pakistan's independence featured historians' comments on the upheavals that accompanied that period. “Not only is it great work, but something that puts things in perspective for the new generation,” Kamal Siddiqi, the news director of VOA Urdu's affiliate AAJ TV, wrote. The coverage generated 4.7 million views on Facebook.

VOA Coverage of Al-Shabab Attack Generates Strong Digital Numbers

VOA Somali was quick to bring audiences the latest on the deadly Al-Shabab attack on a popular hotel in Mogadishu, interviewing survivors, Somali security analysts, and the hotel owner. The radio interview with Hayat Hotel owner Abdulkadir Mohamud Nur posted on Facebook received more than 170k views, 5.4k likes, and 111 comments in less than 24 hours. Nur told VOA Somali that it took security forces about an hour to rescue hotel guests, and rejected a social media rumor that some of the attackers had come to the hotel impersonating honey sellers.

Netizens Use VOA Mandarin’s Digital Platforms to Comment on Xi’s Power Grab

VOA Mandarin’s coverage of the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is drawing growing audience interest. With Xi Jinping expected to be handed an unprecedented third term as General Secretary, reporting included expert analysis of Xi’s ambitions amid the fallout from his handling of recent crises. Netizens took to Mandarin’s social media platforms to express views on a topic deemed too risky to discuss in China. As a result, VOA Mandarin's Twitter feed generated more than 62,000 engagement actions within hours of asking for opinions of Xi’s bid to stay in power.

VOA Launches Bilingual Press Freedom Series

VOA Spanish launched a bilingual freedom of the press multimedia special “Riego y Recompensa,” ("Risks And Rewards") highlighting journalists’ peril in Mexico, where 15 were murdered as of August 22, 2022. Two of them in Tijuana, where photojournalist Angeles Garcia risked her life covering the brutality of organized crime in a city ranked among the world’s most dangerous. The story garnered 17K views on social media. English versions were among the most viewed: Tijuana Journalists Confront Danger to Keep City Safe (1,769 views), Interactive Risk and Reward (429 views). The Inter-American Press Association included the special in its weekly newsletter.

VOA Persian's Coverage of Attempted Murder of Author Salman Rushdie Engages the Audience

VOA Persian offered comprehensive coverage of the stabbing of Salman Rushdie in New York. Rushdie, who has received death threats since the release of his novel "The Satanic Verses," was stabbed several times by his assailant. News of the stabbing led some experts to wonder whether this will affect the outcome of the JCPOA negotiations. Mansour Farhang, former Iranian diplomat, said it is unlikely to have an impact, because from the U.S. perspective, curbing Iran's nuclear program is a priority for security and regional reasons. Audience engagement on all digital platforms surpassed 1,820,680.

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.