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VOA Series Tackles Challenging Pakistan-India Issues

Format encourages engagement

Washington, D.C., January 28, 2009 - Voice of America's (VOA) Urdu and Hindi Services today launched a new television segment aimed at encouraging constructive dialogue about issues involving Pakistan and India.

The weekly segments, called Samjhauta Express, feature Urdu journalist Kokab Farshori and Hindi journalist Niharika Acharya discussing traditionally tendentious issues between their two countries, such as trade, Kashmir, separated families and farming along the border. The format encourages engagement on a wide range of bilateral matters.

The debut segment focused on the role Ambassador Richard Holbooke is playing as the Obama administration’s new U.S. special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The series is named after the train service Samjhauta Express, which has linked Pakistan and India since 1976. Samjhauta means “understanding” in both languages.

"The way Samjhauta Express brings two countries together, so will we try, in a small way, to do the same through this segment," said Acharya. Farshori added that, despite differences, India and Pakistan now realize they have a "common enemy – terrorism."

Samjhauta Express, which runs from two to four minutes, airs weekly on affiliate television stations Geo TV in Pakistan and Zee TV in India during the newscasts of VOA Urdu's Beyond the Headlines and VOA Hindi's America Live, respectively. They will also be streamed on the Internet at and

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