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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights, September 14, 2023

African Audiences Rely on VOA for Coverage of Devastating Morocco Earthquake

VOA Africa's programming on the deadly earthquake in Morocco on September 8 included live hits with journalists on the ground, in-language interviews with survivors, tourists, and emergency response experts, plus more than 30 digital reels and content for web and social media platforms. The 30+ reels by seven language services generated a combined total of more than 191K video views on Facebook and Instagram between September 9 and September 12.

VOA Provides Comprehensive Coverage and Analysis of G20 Summit

“It vindicates America’s strategy of ‘cooperation, alliance’ with other nations,” says a viewer of VOA Mandarin’s reporting on the G20 summit (September 9 – September 12), where Presidents Xi and Putin were absent. In its coverage, VOA English to Asia explained how the U.S. and western countries with Global South partners presented the world with a viable option to counter China. In addition to Mandarin's coverage, English to Asia delivered multiple reports to affiliates in India, Indonesia and South Korea. Mandarin’s coverage included 16 videos (451K Twitter video views from September 7 to September 10) on India’s rise.

VOA Ukrainian was the only Ukrainian-language media outlet reporting from the G20 summit in New Delhi (September 9 – September 10) with Ukrainian media relying on the service for exclusive, multiplatform coverage and live interactives for affiliates, including ICTV, RFE/RL, 1+1, We Ukraine, Suspilne and Espreso. Five of the interactives were streamed by Ukraine’s national TV marathon, reaching millions of viewers. VOA broke the news in Ukraine on the G20 declaration, with the report widely shared by popular Telegram channels. Coverage featured interviews with Ukraine’s Ambassador to India Oleksandr Polishchuk and Kyiv-based expert Mridula Ghosh on Kyiv’s response to the declaration, which failed to condemn Russia for its war in Ukraine, as well as with Ukrainians living in India on their view of the summit. Coverage generated more than 172K views and over 13K interactions on the service’s digital platforms and was also used by VOA’s News Center.

VOA correspondents Celia Mendoza and Jorge Agobian, reporting from New Delhi, engaged LatAm audiences with extensive G20 summit coverage, creating multimedia content that included Facebook lives, digital platform reports and TV packages delving into China’s economic influence in Latin America and India as a potential alternative, garnering 37K+ social media views on September 9 to 10. Despite only two Latin American presidents being in attendance - Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Argentina’s Alberto Fernandez - affiliates showed keen interest, requesting 329 live and pre-taped reports, including Mexico’s Azteca and ADN40, Colombia’s Caracol and NTN24, and Argentina’s Canal 6.

Harassment of News Center Correspondent Makes Headlines

Indonesian security officials attempted to block VOA’s White House Bureau Chief Patsy Widakuswara from covering the U.S.-ASEAN summit after she called out questions to participating leaders. U.S. officials came to her defense, and Indonesian security eventually relented. More than 20 Indonesian news organizations covered the incident. VOA’s Press Freedom story climbed to #2 on and was cited by NBC, CNN, and National Press Club. Two Indonesian press associations condemned the obstruction, and the Coalition For Women In Journalism expressed solidarity with Widakuswara.

VOA Persian’s Special Program Engages Audience

VOA Persian produced a special hosted by Siamak Dehghanpour entitled “Threats to Plaintiffs of the Women, Life, Freedom Movement,” discussing the regime’s repressive methods and pressure on the families of protesters who were imprisoned or killed. Prior to the one-year anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death (September 16, 2022), Dehghanpour interviewed Khaled Azizi, spokesman for Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, and Dr. Reza Fiouzabadi about the imprisonment of Dr. Hamid Qarahasanlou and his wife, whose audio messages from Karaj prison could be heard during the interview. Audience engagement for this program surpassed 541,000 views from September 7 to September 11 on digital platforms.

VOA Kurdish Coverage of Unrest in Kirkuk Cited by Media Outlets

VOA Kurdish covered deadly protests that erupted in the multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk on September 2, garnering citations from several media outlets including Xendan News, Shar Press, Awene News, Draw Media, Zamen Press, and engaging audiences across the service platforms. Senior representatives of Peshmerga forces and analysts spoke to VOA, commenting on the causes behind escalation in the area. VOA Kurdish's TV report about the Turkish government’s claims on Kirkuk and another on military deployment in Kurdish neighborhoods altogether generated more than 146K views and 8,000 engagement actions on Facebook from September 8 to 12.