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VOA Programming Weekly Highlights, June 15, 2023

Taiwan’s Top Newspaper Cites VOA Mandarin’s Coverage of Blinken’s Expected Visit to Beijing

This week, The Liberty Times, Taiwan’s largest newspaper, cited VOA Mandarin’s in-depth reporting from June 10 on Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s expected trip to Beijing for talks that were postponed in February amid tensions over the Chinese spy balloon incident. While experts told VOA the Taiwan issue remains a major obstacle to rebuilding trust in Sino-US ties, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stressed the importance of reopening military-to-military dialogue, prompting one viewer to say, “Dialogue is useful but…the CCP has never had a history of fulfilling its promises.”

Ukrainian Audience, Media Turn to VOA for Accurate Coverage of Kakhovka Dam Crisis

VOA Ukrainian and Russian’s real-time coverage of the Kakhovka Dam’s destruction saw a spike in citations, generating more than 170 citations in Ukrainian media and more than 2.2M views and 195K interactions on digital platforms over the past week. Coverage featured U.S., Ukrainian and international reactions, including from U.S. lawmakers Michael Waltz (R-FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Stacey Plaskett (D-VI); Zelenskyy advisor Mykhailo Podolyak; Ukraine’s Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksii Khomenko and Permanent Representative to the U.N. Sergiy Kysltsia; and Brigadier General (ret.) Kevin Ryan. VOA Russian also livestreamed with translation the UNSC meeting called to condemn the Russian attack.

Learning English Expands Reach in Ukraine

Kyiv TV has signed an affiliate agreement to broadcast VOA Learning English programs over TV and digital platforms. The agreement enables Kyiv TV to broadcast lessons that were part of the LE initiative to train more than 500 English teachers in Ukraine. The programs include English in a Minute, How to Pronounce, Everyday Grammar TV, News Words, Let's Learn English with Anna, Lets' Learn English (levels 1 and 2), and Let's Teach English.

Trump Indictment Draws News Center Audiences

Former President Donald Trump's arrival in Miami and June 13 arraignment on federal charges related to mishandling classified documents attracted over 118K YouTube views in just 24 hours. This English-language coverage included updates, analysis, explainers, lookaheads and affiliate interviews. Trump's indictment triggered intense political debates, with the former President receiving support from many Republicans, while former Attorney General William Barr described the charges as "very, very damning." This makes Trump the first ex-president in US history to face a federal indictment.

VOA Somali Exclusive Story Beats Local and Regional Media

A VOA Somali report from June 6 on four Ugandan soldiers hiding from al-Shabab for six days before being rescued was widely picked up by media in the target region. The story was cited that same day by The Standard, The Star, Nation and The East African in Kenya, Channel Africa in Zambia, GNN Liberia, and the Africa Center for Strategic Studies’ Media Review. This traction that the VOA story generated illustrates the need for exclusive reporting centered around terrorism and security on the continent.

VOA Urdu Report about Persecuted Journalist Generates Over Two Million Views

Ahmad Noorani, an investigative journalist, spoke with VOA’s Urdu service about the legal challenges he faces in the aftermath of his recent story on the large assets of the former Pakistan army chief Qamar Bajwa. The Pakistani investigative agency has threatened to initiate efforts to confiscate the journalist’s properties and assets if Noorani did not appear in court. “Instead of investigating the corruption, the higher officials are investigating me,” Noorani told VOA. The video report generated 2.1M views and 116K reactions on Facebook.

VOA Persian’s Coverage of Europe’s Prisoner Exchange with Iran

VOA Persian's coverage of Iran's exchange of prisoners with European citizenship from June 5 to June 12 garnered 446,881 audience engagement actions across digital platforms. VOA reported that Iranians in Europe are criticizing the prisoner exchange, while Iranians in Washington are demanding "no deal" with the Iranian government. Farhad Pouladi scored an exclusive interview with National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby, who said: “It is our sacred obligation to bring home wrongfully detained Americans in Iran…we will find a way…” VOA also interviewed Kamran Ghaderi, an Austrian-Iranian citizen, after his release from Iran.

Wildfire Smoke Impacting U.S. Cities Transfixed LatAm Audiences

VOA Spanish reported on the 400+ active fires in Canada that have displaced 20,000 people and record-level smoke spreading to the U.S. A photo gallery shows how smoke created a copper-colored haze in the northeast, reducing visibility and air quality that impacted travel and posed health risks to the general population. Coverage, which included an explainer with tips on reducing exposure and a live report from NYC, netted 384K+ social media views and great interest from prominent affiliates in LatAm that requested nine live shots and 45 pre-recorded reports.