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VOA Programming Weekly Highlights, May 4, 2023

Malian Town Dealing with Water Crisis Receives Help After VOA Bambara Report Airs

Following the broadcast of a VOA Bambara video report last November about the water shortage in the Malian town of Semeguesogou (population 2,600), wealthy businessman Bassory Sylla offered an $8,000 water tower. Bambara stringer Tidiane Ouédraogo was invited back recently for the tower installation ceremony, during which a village representative said, “On behalf of the whole village, we thank VOA Bambara which came here to showcase our difficulties to the whole world. Thanks to this report, an individual gave us the tower.”

Coverage of Yoon’s U.S. Visit Draws Appreciation, More Than 1 Million Views

"Thanks for your thorough reporting,” an affiliate told VOA, adding that the agency provided “substantial information and needed context” about South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol’s visit to Washington. “Thank you, VOA!” said one viewer, as VOA Mandarin translated Yoon’s address to Congress while live-streaming it. Reporting on the visit from April 25 to April 30 earned praise and resulted in significant digital traffic increases, particularly for VOA’s East Asia and Pacific Division. VOA Korean’s coverage alone generated 1.234M YouTube views in five days, and VOA Mandarin’s 16 social media videos garnered 860K Twitter views during the same time period. Seoul and Washington pledged to strengthen cooperation against North Korea’s nuclear threat and boost bilateral economic ties.

Exclusive Interview with U.S. Sanctions Coordination Head Sparks Government Reaction and Calls for Investigation

VOA Georgian’s exclusive interview with the head of the State Department’s Office of Sanctions Coordination, Ambassador Jim O’Brien, generated significant reactions from the country’s government, members of the parliament and the media. Ambassador O’Brien warned Georgian businesses to stop assisting Russia in obtaining sensitive electronics. In reaction to VOA's story, which was also published in Russian and Ukrainian, the government in Tbilisi asked the U.S. Department of State to prove the allegations, while opposition politicians called for a parliamentary investigation. The interview was widely republished by media in the region and dominated news cycles in Georgia.

Coverage of New Migration Rules, End of Title 42, of Great Interest to the Audience

Coverage previewing the anticipated end of Title 42 on May 11 attracted more than 250k views across VOA Spanish's digital platforms during the last week. Coverage included the Biden Administration’s announcement of new migration rules and the establishment of processing centers in Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras, as well as Jorge Agobian’s interview with DHS Assistant Secretary Blas Núnez-Neto. Víctor Hugo Castillo's piece on an illegal migration surge in Texas and Paula Diaz's story about teenagers deceived by coyotes on social media picked up 130K+ views in the last week. Additionally, affiliates requested 42 prerecorded reports and five live shots on the issue.

News Center Presents Global Perspectives on World Press Freedom Day

For World Press Freedom Day 2023, the VOA News Center asked journalists around the world a simple question: Why does a free press matter? Journalists from 25 countries including Afghanistan, China, Myanmar and Russia shared their stories. The video profiles give VOA audiences a global snapshot of the state of journalism. The idea was proposed in VOA’s Latin America Division and coordinated by the News Center’s Press Freedom desk. also carried stories on the World Press Freedom Index and recent media challenges across Africa, as well as specific situations in Cuba, Cameroon, Belarus, Turkey and elsewhere.

VOA Persian's Reporting on Congress' Passing of the MAHSA Act Engages the Audience

Audience engagement with VOA Persian’s coverage of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s passing of the MAHSA Act, or H.R. 589, surpassed 470k on digital platforms between April 24 and May 1. Hamideh Aramideh’s TV special discussed achievements and legal ramifications with experts. Pooya Shoghi said that the MAHSA Act will allow the U.S. President to impose various sanctions on regime officials. Rozita Irandoost reported on Iranians’ support, and Shahla Arasteh gave details from Congress, interviewing U.S. Representatives Corey Mills (R-FL) and Nathaniel Moran (R-TX) who applauded strong bipartisan support for the people of Iran.

VOA Kurdish’s Report Featuring an Immigrant Police Officer Engages the Audience

VOA Kurdish’s video report highlighting the work of a Kurdish immigrant, Paiwand Sofi, who became a police officer in Rockingham County, Virginia, has generated 347K views and 27K reactions on Facebook in the last week. Originally from the city of Sulaimaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan, Sofi now serves and protects the community. “I was in the U.S. military for four years,” Sofi told VOA. “After that, I chose this work because it was my passion.”