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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: March 1, 2023

VOA’s Comprehensive Coverage of Russian Invasion Anniversary Engages Audiences

VOA Russian and Ukrainian services’ coverage of the first anniversary of Russia’s war against Ukraine -- featuring exclusive interviews with U.S., Ukrainian and other international officials, lawmakers and experts; special TV broadcasts; unique on-the-ground footage; analytical web stories and engaging social media content -- garnered more than 6.3 million views and more than 300k interactions on digital platforms in the last week (VOA Russian had 3.9 million video views on Facebook alone). Highlights included coverage of pro-Ukraine protests in LA, NY, San Diego and Washington; reports on the Wagner Group and how 20,000 international volunteers joined Ukraine's military; and live translation of emergency U.N. meetings. Expert Angela Stent told VOA that while the war has been difficult for Ukrainians, Putin's world continues to shrink, and Russia didn't achieve anything it wanted.

News Center's Coverage of One-Year Mark of Ukraine Invasion Attracts Audience's Attention

The News Center observed the one-year mark of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with a comprehensive project page incorporating dozens of TV packages, articles, and charts that won praise from colleagues at RFE and a Hill staffer who commented, “What an incredible way to present facts in an accessible way." The day’s lead story was republished by Real Clear Defense; Myroslava Gongadze’s interview with Ukrainian intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov had dozens of pickups, while Nike Ching’s interview with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman received more than 197k views on the Mandarin Twitter feed in the last four days.

VOA Spanish Coverage of One-Year Mark of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Drew Significant Audience

Correspondents Jorge Agobian and Celia Mendoza traveled to Warsaw for the one-year mark of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. There, they conducted more than 200 prerecorded reports and 41 live shots for daily newscasts and affiliates and produced stories about President Biden’s Ukraine and Poland visit, refugees coping with life outside Ukraine, and Poland welcoming more displaced people. TV program "Foro"'s Feb. 24 “State of War” episode had an interview with Ambassador and Ukraine’s Latin America representative Rosland Sipirin. A special website section, created to house Ukraine-related content, generated more than 370k social media views for the week.

VOA Urdu Sees High Audience Engagement on Reports of Ukraine War One-Year Mark

VOA Urdu observed the one-year mark by producing original stories and interviewing Pakistani-Ukrainians and Pakistani businessmen affected by the war. “Ukraine is my country and I do not wish to leave it in time of need,” Iftikhar Ahmad, who has lived in the port city of Odesa since 1986, told VOA. Another video report focused on the impact of the war on Pakistani garment exports. The coverage generated more than 50,000 views on social media platforms in the last week.

Nigerians Turn to VOA for Presidential Election Coverage

VOA’s comprehensive coverage of Nigeria’s presidential elections in Hausa and English has been instrumental in providing Nigerians with balanced, accurate information needed to cast votes during a historic time in the country. Interviews with candidates and voters, daily reports, and an-hour long TV special were part of election weekend programming. In one week, VOA Hausa produced 87 radio reports and 13 TV reports between the D.C. team and 42 stringers. From polling stations to the streets of Nigeria, the service conducted 20 Facebook Lives over three days and saw a 413% increase in engagement compared to last month.

VOA Mandarin’s Interview with Uyghur, Who Traced Family, Spurs Strong Audience Interest

Mandarin’s interview with Nuriman Abdureshid, which came as a new congressional committee on China was set to focus on human rights in its first hearing on February 28, generated significant audience interest with many supporting Uyghurs and some dismissing the Xinjiang issue as western propaganda. Abdureshid used Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation’s database of thousands of detainees to track her jailed family members. The Washington-based group’s search tool based on Xinjiang police files provided limited information, but Abdureshid said she was grateful for every small detail she could find. The interview generated more than 190k views on Twitter in three days.

Coverage of Iranian Opposition Leaders at Munich Security Conference Attracted Audience Engagement

VOA Persian’s coverage of Iranian opposition leaders at the 2023 Munich Security Conference, as well as the subsequent Italian Parliament meeting and a rally in Brussels, generated more than 1 million engagement actions on digital platforms during the last week. Masih Alinejad, Reza Pahlavi, Nazanin Boniadi, and Hamed Esmaeilion, invited as representatives of Iranian civil society, sat down for interviews with Sara Damavandan in Munich.