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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights, August 16, 2023

Ecuador Presidential Candidate's Assassination Coverage Amasses 1M+ Views on VOA Spanish Platforms

Latin American audiences flocked to VOA Spanish for swift coverage of Ecuador presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio’s assassination. Nestor Aguilera reported live from the Quito hospital where Villavicencio was rushed to after the shooting, capturing reactions, as President Lasso declared a state of emergency. Coverage included Villavicencio’s allegations linking Colombian drug traffickers to Ecuadorian politicians, six arrests in connection with the killing, and concerns about violence from other candidates during a debate ahead of the August 20 presidential election, amassing 1M+ video views across digital platforms. LatAm affiliates requested 66 live and pre-taped reports.

VOA Africa Coverage of Niger Coup Continues to Generate Substantial Audience Engagement

As the situation in Niger continues, VOA Hausa interviewed a Nigerien Islamic scholar who was among the group that met with Niger’s military junta in Niamey. Sayyid Ibrahim Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi told VOA their trip yielded the desired result since the junta agreed to meet with ECOWAS representatives for negotiation. The interview generated more than 45K Facebook views in six hours, and more than 100K views, 10K likes, and 500 comments in just over 24 hours. On Instagram, the interview received nearly 10K views and more than 1K engagements in 24 hours.

Chinese Netizens Express Envy Over Freedom of Speech in America

“I don’t want Xi Jinping to be my next-door neighbor,” a protester tells VOA Mandarin as he rallies with other locals against an electric-vehicle battery plant in Big Rapids, Michigan, of the Chinese company Gotion, citing environmental and national security concerns. But others welcomed the prospect of more jobs in their community. Mandarin’s on-site reporting prompted a deluge of comments and 190K+ combined views on Twitter 8/9-8/14. People in China fear publicly expressing discontent, remarked one viewer, while another observed Americans seem calm when doing so.

VOA Urdu Coverage of Cable Controversy Draws One Million Views

The comprehensive coverage of news developments since the publication of the supposed Pakistani diplomatic cable by The Intercept news outlet, in which details of a conversation between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu and Pakistani ambassador were divulged, generated one million views on Facebook. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan cited the secret diplomatic cable and the alleged remarks by Lu, in which he had supposedly assured that if the no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister succeeded, “then all will be forgiven in Washington”, as an indication of American involvement in his ouster.

Audience Response to U.S.-Iran Prisoner Exchange Negotiations

VOA Persian covered breaking news of U. S. officials negotiating with Iran to release American residents imprisoned in Iran. Kourosh Aladin and Payam Yazdian hosted a two-part special program on the possibility of the release of American hostages. Special guests included family members of prisoners and international relations experts. The special garnered an audience engagement of 801,348 impressions between 8/11-14 on all digital platforms. Guita Aryan reported details of the transfer of five imprisoned Iranian Americans to a hotel in Tehran, and Farhad Pouladi updated viewers on statements by Biden Administration officials, John Kirby and Antony Blinken.

China Is Using the Ukraine War to Strengthen Beijing's Global Standing, Experts Tell VOA

VOA Russian’s value-added reporting on China's rise as a world power and its relations with Russia - from participation in the Jeddah talks on Ukraine to joint naval exercises near Alaska - features analysts, including Alexander Gabuev of the Berlin Carnegie Center and the Stimson Center's Pamela Kennedy, who say Beijing is using opportunities that arose as a result of Russia's aggression against Ukraine to strengthen China's position in the world. A VOA Georgian analytical report explores the growing strategic Georgia-China partnership that experts say comes amid concerns that it will strain Tbilisi’s longstanding Western partnerships and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.