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VOA Programming Weekly Highlights, April 26, 2023

VOA’s Value-Added Reporting on Kara-Murza Sentencing Cited Widely by Russian Media

VOA Russian’s interview with Evgenia Kara-Murza the day after her husband, Russian opposition figure Vladimir Kara-Murza, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for treason was picked up by key media outlets, including The Insider, Meduza, Novaya Gazeta Europe, Mediazona, RFE/RL and Current Time, all of whom quoted VOA with links to the YouTube interview. Kara-Murza’s lawyer, Vadim Prokohorov, told VOA he left Russia just days before Monday's verdict and is not returning because of threats related to a criminal case against him. VOA also talked to Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Bill Keating (D-MA), along with Bill Browder, founder of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign, about the importance of adding Russia to the State Sponsors of Terrorism list and the State Department designating Kara-Murza as a "wrongfully detained" individual to strengthen the chances of his release.

VOA Africa Division and News Center’s Comprehensive Coverage of the Sudan Conflict Engages the Audience

VOA Africa Division's in-depth, up-to-the-minute coverage of the unfolding crisis in Sudan included live streaming of events and expert interviews, including the Red Cross spokesperson in Khartoum, an aid worker with the Norwegian Refugee Council, a UNICEF specialist and the president of the Association of Doctors in Khartoum. This coverage generated an uptick in digital traffic, with VOA English, Somali and French videos receiving more than 250k views in one week. A timeline explainer describing the events from the 2021 coup to the current situation received nearly 50k views in three days. At the same time, the News Center has provided extensive coverage of the conflict in Sudan through a running web wrap updated multiple times per day since April 15. There were 16 bylined web articles, with contributions from VOA reporters and stringers across the globe, including in Khartoum, Nairobi, Washington, Calcutta, Mogadishu, Geneva, Germany, Syria and the United Nations. The Somali, French and Kurdish services also contributed reporting to the English site. Additionally, there were 14 radio reports, 5 original television packages and multiple affiliate live-hits. The News Center coverage attracted more than 70,000 webpage views and more than 337k YouTube views and was cited by several international news organizations in the last week.

VOA Mandarin’s Exclusive Interview with Taiwan Presidential Hopeful a Huge Draw

“Independent media are a key force in sustaining a democratic society,” Taiwan People's Party Chairman Ko Wen-Je tweeted following his interview with VOA Mandarin. VOA's interview with the 2024 presidential hopeful generated nearly 100K YouTube views within a day. Ko was in Washington to introduce his party as a “third” political force that, unlike Taiwan’s two major parties, campaigns on neither the island’s independence nor reunification with mainland China. He said renewed dialogue with Beijing based on mutual understanding could resolve the cross-strait issue.

Reporting on Russian Influence and Human Rights in Nicaragua Attracts Significant Audience

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Nicaragua is seen by experts as an attempt to expand Russia's influence in Latin America amid mounting concerns regarding the Ortega government's human rights violations. Former Colombian president Ivan Duque called for International Criminal Court complaints against President Daniel Ortega and VP Rosario Murillo. Citizens continue reporting government repression, manifested by dissident arrests that forced many indigenous families to flee Nicaragua, while recently released political prisoners shared how they're coping with their life in exile in the United States. This content received nearly 92k social media views in the last week.

VOA Persian's Reporting on New Wave of Poisonings at Girls' Schools Draws the Audience

VOA Persian’s broadcast and digital coverage of new poisonings at girls’ schools in more than 20 cities in Iran drew more than 764k audience engagement actions from April 16 to April 24. The digital team filed updates, background reports and videos sent by viewers. Coverage also included social media posts on the incidents and updates by Afshar Sigarchi, Arian Risbaf and Koroush Aladin on the schools involved, parents’ reactions and protests against authorities’ lack of investigation. VOA also published articles on human rights organizations' reactions to the developments.

VOA Deewa Draws Praise from Audience for Unique Music Show

VOA Deewa’s one-hour music show, “Song and Chat,” aired on TV and digital planforms on the major Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr and received positive feedback from audience members. “Thanks to VOA Deewa for arranging this beautiful program,” M Zarif Aryubi wrote on Facebook, while others praised the widely watched program for its celebration of Pashto arts and culture at a time when the Taliban has banned music inside Afghanistan and their supporters discourage its use, sometimes violently, in Pakistan’s Pashtun-populated regions. The video generated more than 612k views on Facebook in the last 5 days.