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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights, April 19, 2023

VOA’s Reporting on Classified Documents Leak Widely Republished in Ukraine, Balkans

VOA’s in-depth coverage about the leak of highly classified Pentagon documents offered audiences expert analysis and verified, balanced reporting on the developing story, countering disinformation in Russian media in particular. VOA Ukrainian conducted 11 live interactives covering the topic for various Ukrainian media outlets. A special live VOA report for the public broadcaster Suspilne TV was included in Ukraine's "United TV Marathon," which reached all Ukrainian TV viewers nationally. In addition to the Marathon, VOA Ukrainian reports were carried by other media, including Pryamyi, Hromadske Radio, NV Radio, Kyiv TV channel, channel 5, BBC Ukraine and RFE/RL Ukrainian. When news broke of an arrest, the service went live on social media with a special episode of "Briefing." Coverage garnered 200,000+ views and 14,000+ interactions on digital platforms since April 13, 25 citations in Ukrainian media and was carried by major media in Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro.

News Center Interview with Pakistan's Defense Minister Draws Wide Coverage

VOA's Islamabad Bureau Chief Sarah Zaman scored an exclusive interview with Pakistan's Defense Minister, Khawaja Asif, where he issued a stern warning to the Afghan Taliban: if they fail to control anti-Pakistan militants, Pakistan will strike terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan. The interview had an immediate impact and was cited by 22 media outlets including, in Pakistan: The News, Dunya, Pakistan Today, Islamabad Post, Dawn, Samaa, Pakistan Observer, SuchTV and MMNews; in Afghanistan: Khaama Press, Aamaj News and amuTV; in India: Times of India, Economic Times, Republic World, ZeeNews, Hindustan Times, News18, The Sentinel and Sakshi Post; and in the Middle East: Jerusalem Post and Arab News.

VOA Urdu Interview with Pakistani National Assembly Speaker Makes Headlines

VOA Urdu's exclusive interview with Pakistani National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was carried by major news channels during primetime and was featured on the frontpage headlines of newspapers. "[Ashraf] firmly stated that if the SC [Supreme Court] does not recognize the parliament's right to legislate, then the entire concept of elections will become a mockery," wrote Tribune newspaper referencing the VOA interview in which the Speaker commented on the dispute between the two branches of government. BBC Urdu, alongside other major news outlets, including PTV World, Geo News, Samaa TV and Dawn TV cited the VOA interview.

Nearly a Million Views for VOA Vietnamese Coverage of Secretary Blinken’s Vietnam Trip

Audience engagement soared as a result of comprehensive reporting on Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Hanoi. Six video clips generated 950K Facebook and YouTube views, while 22 Facebook posts garnered 26K engagement actions in two days. “Congrats, hope for a bright future,” said a viewer, while another remarked that improved Vietnam-U.S. ties will benefit both countries. Blinken’s visit came as Washington seeks to improve relations with a country that has in recent years been close to Russia but now shares American concerns about Beijing’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

VOA Africa Coverage of Fighting in Sudan Draws Substantial Audience Across Multiple Language Services

The Africa Division has been providing nonstop, comprehensive coverage of clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces in Khartoum since April 15, during which time nearly 200 people have died. Coverage included live interviews with Khartoum residents, human rights activists, diplomats, analysts and main protagonists, such as Muna Al Tahir, a member of Sudan’s Resistance Committee. A VOA French video of the early scenes of fighting received more than 400k Facebook views in two days.

VOA Spanish Fentanyl Crisis Coverage Cited By Top Mexican Newspapers

Following the Biden administration’s designation of adulterated Fentanyl as an emerging threat to the U.S., VOA Spanish White House correspondent Jorge Agobian interviewed Rahul Gupta, Director of National Drug Control Policy. Ahead of a bilateral meeting to address the crisis, the White House official stated Mexico is producing fentanyl, countering President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s denial. The coverage attracted was widely cited by top Mexico newspapers El Universal, Proceso, Reforma, El Financiero and digital media outlets Infobae, El Porvenir, El Progresista, Zocalo and Publimetro.

VOA Persian Coverage of Women’s Fight Against Compulsory Hijab Draws Large Audience Engagement

VOA Persian’s coverage of Iranian women’s fight against the compulsory hijab, as well as the police force’s ultimatum that cameras will be used to identify and arrest women offenders, resulted in total audience engagement on all digital platforms surpassing 964k from April 9 to April 17. VOA Persian reported on the civil struggles of Iranian women and their resounding NO! to mandatory hijab. In response to officials’ threats, women posted photos of themselves without hijabs. In VOA Persian’s Special about women’s civil disobedience, experts connected the hijab issue to the larger unified movement.