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VOA Programming Weekly Highlights, July 27, 2023

VOA’s Coverage of Russia’s Withdrawal from Grain Deal Generates Wide Interest, Citations

VOA Ukrainian and Russian's comprehensive coverage of Russia’s withdrawal from the U.N.-brokered Black Sea agreement -- including its strikes on grain terminals and port infrastructure in Odesa, Ukraine -- drove digital viewership, garnering more than 830K views. Coverage featured official U.S. reaction; interviews with Ukrainian farmers in the Kyiv region, analysts and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba; and the UNSC session in which Western countries accused Russia of “blackmailing the world" by withdrawing from the grain deal. The exclusive interview with Kuleba was cited by 17 Ukrainian media organizations, including Ukrinform, Yevropeyska Pravda and

Messi Mania Arrives in Miami, Raising Expectations for US Soccer

Leo Messi’s impressive debut with Inter Miami on Friday against Mexico’s Cruz Azul followed his premiere and official introduction at Fort Lauderdale’s Drive Pink Stadium one week prior. VOA Spanish reported on his first training session, his connection with fans of all ages, statements from team co-founder David Beckham, and expert analysis on the significance of Messi’s signing for soccer in the U.S. Reports, videos, Facebook Lives, photos and articles garnered 192K+ views on social media. VOA Spanish produced 24 live shots and 116 pre-recorded segments for prominent LatAm affiliates.

VOA Press Freedom Coverage Spotlighted by Non-Profit Groups

VOA News Center’s press freedom coverage is a must read for journalists and other First Amendment advocates, according to several key non-profit organizations. Cristina Caicedo Smit’s article on the latest journalist murders in Mexico was recommended in the July 20 edition of the National Press Club Journalism Institute newsletter. The Institute also featured Liam Scott’s interview with the first American journalist to run a U.S. news bureau in Pyongyang in its July 24 issue. In addition, Liam’s article on the risks posed by a draft global cybercrime treaty was tweeted by the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation where it got 11.1K views in 21 hours.

VOA Persian’s Coverage of the Return of Irshad Patrol Engages the Audience

VOA Persian covered the return of Irshad patrol -- the special police that are harassing and arresting women who refuse to wear head covers in public -- to the streets of Iran. Video clips of clashes between police and women exercising their civil disobedience were posted on social media. Kourosh Aladin and Afshar Sigarchi reported on the government’s pressure on hijab opponents and sentences issued against actresses. Guita Aryan reported on the U.S. response to the return of Iran’s morality police. Audience engagement from July 17 to July 24 surpassed 850,738 impressions on all digital platforms.

VOA Azerbaijani Report from Village of Prominence Draws Large Audience

A VOA Azerbaijani reporter traveled to the Shishtepe village of Shamkir province, which recently made headlines with the attendance of Turkish pop star Ebru Gundes at a local wedding. Several residents of the village spoke to VOA, dispelling the village’s reputation as a homeland of affluent people. Although some expatriates displayed their foreign-earned wealth, many inhabitants suffered from unemployment and a lack of basic social services, the residents told VOA. Within a week of its publication, the story generated more than 335K views on YouTube and 100K views and 3.1K+ reactions on Facebook and Instagram.

VOA Portuguese Story on Internally Displaced Persons in Mozambique Picked Up by Multiple Media Outlets

A VOA Portuguese story published on July 12, documenting the plight of more than 800K people internally displaced in Mozambique, generated interest by other media outlets. The VOA story on mass displacement due to the war between extremist insurgent groups and the Mozambican government that began in 2017 was featured on Defence Web, a prominent regional news outlet focusing on security, and republished by All Africa, New Delhi Times and Irish Sun. Other than Deutsche Welle, VOA is the only international news agency that offers content in Portuguese to African countries.