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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: March 15, 2023

Islamabad Bureau Chief Interviewed Former Pakistan Prime Minister Amid Protest

Islamabad bureau chief Sarah Zaman had an on-camera interview on March 14 with former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan while protesters were clashing outside his door with police who had come to arrest him. The video ran up more than 500k views in its first day on YouTube. It also was used prominently in VOA South and Central Asia shows and was embedded in an AFP article about the incident as carried by the Bangkok Post. Text coverage of the incident by Islamabad-based Ayaz Gul was republished by the New Delhi Times under the byline “Special Correspondent.” This is VOA’s second high-profile interview with Khan in recent weeks. A February interview in which Khan backed away from claims that the U.S. was behind his ouster was featured on the front page of six of Pakistan’s largest newspapers and featured in most major prime time TV shows.

Tibetans Encouraged by China Select Committee Chair's Participation in Tibetan Uprising Day

Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) joined the Tibetan community on March 10 in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., in support of the freedom and rights of the Tibetan people, commemorating the 64th anniversary of the Tibetan national uprising against Chinese rule. Gallagher said he wanted to recognize their courage and described Tibetans as victims of a “cultural genocide" by the Chinese Communist Party. VOA Tibetan audience members jumped on social media to express support for the event and welcomed the Congressman's participation: "So thankful for participating this most important events. We [are] encouraged by your heart touching speeches." Gallagher’s participation marked the first public engagement related to the Tibetan cause by a sitting U.S. Member of Congress in years. This report is part of VOA Tibetan program broadcasts to affiliates and distributed on secured chat groups to circumvent Chinese censorship.

International Women’s Day Coverage Attracts Huge Audience

Reports from Latin America and Spain highlighted the advancements and challenges of 21st century women, many still fighting for living wages in Venezuela and equal pay in Madrid. VOA Spanish featured women excelling in male-dominated professions, like Colombia’s first cavalry commander leading a platoon in a dangerous area of the country and highly accomplished female Venezuelan engineers, while showcasing struggles in Nicaragua, where the government shut down almost all pro-women organizations. Buenos Días América produced a multi-report special about education and gender equality challenges in Latin America. This content generated 350K+ social media views March 8-12.

Special Programming on International Women’s Day Celebrates “Women, Life, Freedom” Movement

VOA Persian’s broadcast and digital teams produced special programming to mark International Women’s Day on March 8 with female anchors and documentaries dedicated to women who played important roles in Iran’s history. The International Women of Courage Award ceremony was live-streamed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Mahtab Vahidirad’s specials and Siamak Dehghanpour’s special on hijab/violence received 418,840 views. Documentaries “Female Energy,” “Execution of the Minister,” and “Endless Beginnings” garnered 161,473 Instagram views. In all, audience engagement for this programming surpassed 1.1 million on digital platforms from March 8 to March 14, 2023.

VOA Kurdish Coverage of International Women’s Day Engages Audience

On the occasion of International Women’s Day (March 8), VOA Kurdish reporters in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq; Wan and Diyarbakir in Turkey; and Afrin and Qamishli, Syria, covered protests by Kurdish women demanding equal rights. One TV report focused on reduced polygamy cases among Kurdish families, while another TV report highlighted the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the Kurdistan region’s public and private offices. “Even the male judges, who deal with harassment cases, blame women,” said Rezan Shex Dler, a former member of the Iraqi parliament. VOA Kurdish coverage of women’s issues generated 765,000 video views on Facebook between March 8 and March 13.

VOA’s International Women’s Day Coverage Widely Picked Up by Ukrainian Media

VOA’s International Women’s Day coverage, featuring stories and interviews with women across the globe who have been instrumental in helping the victims of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine, was picked up by five Ukrainian affiliates and streamed online by popular channels Espreso, channel 5, Ukrinorm, We-Ukraine and NTA and aired live by regional Ternopil channel TV-4. VOA Ukrainian’s “Chas-Time" show was dedicated to women’s issues and produced solely by female journalists, with VOA offering Ukrainian audiences a unique opportunity to follow the 2023 International Women of Courage Award ceremony live with simultaneous translation.

VOA Coverage of Nigeria Elections Generates Impressive Digital Boost

Coverage of Nigeria’s February 25th elections caused a significant surge in VOA Hausa's digital engagement, which demonstrates the huge appetite for VOA content during this decisive electoral period. During election week (February 23rd to March 1st), visits increased by 65%, reaching 902,856, while article views soared by 140% to 671,131. Facebook engagement actions spiked by 310%, reaching 457,715, while video views skyrocketed by 327% to 5,290,856.

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.