Washington, D.C., January 26, 2009 - Starting today, people in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, as well as the rest of the country, can listen to a six-hour radio program of news and information in Pashto, Urdu and English on FM, AM, shortwave and the Internet.
The trilingual program will feature news packages, talk shows and in-depth analysis of events in the United States and Pakistan. It will be broadcast across Pakistan, with a focus on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, from 12 a.m. until 6 a.m. The format replaces an existing program that was exclusively on music.
"This new program will give all Pakistanis, particularly those living in the remote region along the Afghan border, more opportunity to hear VOA's objective news coverage of what's happening in the world and in South Asia," said VOA Director Danforth Austin.
VOA currently broadcasts six hours of radio news and information in Urdu daily to Pakistan, from 7 p.m.-12 a.m. and from 6 a.m.-7 a.m. VOA also broadcasts from 6 p.m.-12 p.m. to Pakistan in Pashto. In addition, VOA's Urdu Service produces a daily television show, Beyond the Headlines.
Urdu and English are the official languages of Pakistan, a country with about 172 million people. But an estimated 40 million people in Pakistan speak Pashto, primarily those living near the Afghanistan border.
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 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 VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.