Washington, D.C., September 15, 2008 - The Voice of America's (VOA
) weekly radio and television audience in Pakistan,
scene of recent tumultuous political events, nearly doubled over the
past year to more than 11 million, or almost 12% of the surveyed
population, a new survey shows.
"There's been a lot of news, including a
temporary crackdown on independent media, coming out of Pakistan in the
past 12 months," said Danforth Austin, VOA Director. "VOA has done a
good job of covering events thoroughly, and listeners in Pakistan have
obviously taken note," he said. Additionally, VOA has improved
cross-border distribution of its popular radio program on medium-wave
frequencies, he said.
In a June 2008 survey by InterMedia, researchers found a huge jump – to 6.3% of the
adult population from 2.8% – in VOA's Urdu-language radio
The weekly VOA television audience also reached 6%
percent, even though the program was shut down for nearly six months
after then-Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf suspended the constitution
in November 2007. Musharraf, who resigned last month, blocked
television including foreign cable broadcasts and imposed restrictions
on local reporters.
Researchers said political events, which included
the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December
2007 and "periodic crackdowns on key local media outlets may have
driven more Pakistanis towards external information sources."
Ki Dunyaa program in Urdu – Your World in English – broadcasts 12 hours a
day on medium-wave (AM) and shortwave. The program, aimed at young
people, includes news, information, music, call-in shows and features.
VOA’s Urdu service also produces a daily, 30-minute television program
– Beyond the Headlines – carried on two national TV networks, Aaj and
Geo. Urdu is the country's predominant language.
VOA also has a
Pashto-language program focusing on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border
region. Deewa Radio, a 24/7 stream, produces six hours of news,
features, current affairs and other programs. Pakistanis also listen to
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942,
is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA
(www.VOANews.com) broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news,
information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an
estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs
are produced in 45 languages.
For more information, call the VOA Public Relations office at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.