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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights, August 24, 2023

VOA Afghan Coverage of Anniversary of Taliban Takeover Engages Audience

On the second anniversary of the fall of Kabul to Taliban forces, VOA Afghan produced dozens of original reports on subjects such as women’s rights, press freedom, refugees, health crises, and the overall humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, generating more than 15M video views on digital platforms. The two special landing pages in Dari and Pashto also featured exclusive interviews with the United Nations, Taliban and former Afghan government officials. "It is absolutely fundamental that girls, that women get education," Richard Bennett, UN Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan, told VOA.

VOA Spanish Chronicles Ecuador and Guatemala Elections Amid Turmoil

VOA Spanish pulled double duty covering the August 20 Ecuador and Guatemala presidential elections as turmoil roiled both countries. Determined Ecuadorians voted amid heightened security, following candidate Fernando Villavicencio’s assassination, while international observers monitored the process. In Guatemala’s concurrent presidential elections, anticorruption crusader Bernardo Arévalo emerged victorious despite a prosecutor’s attempts to bar him from running. Coverage of both elections generated 179K+ video views on social media. Journalists produced 81 live and pre-taped reports from Ecuador and Guatemala for affiliates, including TN Artear, TN23, NTN 24 and Azteca.

Cambodians Express Hope, Disappointment over New Leaders on VOA Khmer Platforms

“There’s little ‘new’ hope but it’s still better,” comments a viewer on VOA Khmer’s analysis of the leadership change following the ruling party’s victory in last month’s election. The reporting, which also prompted remarks like “a military government under Hun Manet” and “I don’t accept,” generated 400K+ video views within 24 hours on VOA Khmer’s platforms. Referring to Prime Minister Hun Sen and cabinet incumbents' transference of power to relatives, experts said new leadership was necessary and a long time coming but lacks “democratic value.”

VOA Interview with Ukraine’s Energy Minister Dominates News Cycle

VOA Ukrainian’s exclusive interview with Ukraine’s Energy Minister German Galushchenko broke the news that Ukraine has no plans to talk with Russia on renewing a gas transit contract, generating more than 115 citations in Ukrainian and international media, including Reuters, The Guardian, all major Ukrainian media, and Russian propagandist media such as Russia Today,, and As Ukraine braces for a second wartime winter, Galushchenko said the country benefits from continuous supplies of energy equipment from allies and this year will strive to increase domestic production of energy equipment to ensure fast repairs from shelling. He also called for swift sanctions against Russia’s nuclear energy, saying this will push Moscow to negotiate its exit from the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and limit Russia’s role in global supplies of nuclear fuel.

Coverage of World Athletics Championships Accumulates 1.5M+ Views on VOA Amharic Platforms

Ethiopian audiences flocked to VOA Amharic platforms for coverage of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, where their stringer filed multiple stories featuring a number of Ethiopian athletes who participated in the tournaments. In two days, VOA interviews with Ethiopian athletes and the President of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation have accumulated 1.5M+ video views on Facebook.

Iran's Latest Environmental Challenges Resonate with Audience

Iran's deteriorating environmental situation is the focus of a one-hour special program on VOA Persian, hosted by Siamak Dehghanpour and titled "Looting Iran's Environment." In this program, academics and experts discuss the current environmental issues in Iran and their potential long-term consequences, namely how the drying up of Lake Urmia and the wildfires in the Zagros forests are causing the detrimental impact of environmental plundering and exploitation on the lives of Iranians and their protest movements. The program generated a total audience engagement of 708,547 impressions on all digital platforms between August 17 and August 21.

News Center Immigration Coverage Widely Cited

Immigration reporter Aline Barros’ impactful work has been cited by a variety of authoritative organizations and publications. The American Immigration Lawyers Association shared Aline's article on stateless individuals; the New Americans Campaign endorsed her coverage on X, formerly known as Twitter; and America's Voice featured her asylum explainer and other stories in its English and Spanish newsletters. Public Books quoted Aline's immigration article, while the International Refugee Assistance Project referenced her Afghan humanitarian parole story in a Freedom of Information Act request. Also, Maya Pagni Barak cited Aline's family reunification report in her book “The Slow Violence of Immigration Court—2023.”