Washington D.C., February 12, 2009 - Voice of America (VOA) launches its first satellite TV program for Burma this weekend, bringing fresh news and information to people living in one of the world's most restrictive media environments.
"This program will expose people in Burma to information and images they may never have seen before," said VOA Director Danforth Austin.
Called Burmese Weekly TV Magazine, the program's first edition includes international, national news and features, including a special report on the Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group from Western Burma. Burma's Junta has persecuted the Rohingyas, forcing many to try to flee to neighboring Bangladesh and then to Thailand.
In the first show, VOA anchors Thar Nyunt Oo and Nyo Nyo Lwin also discuss UNICEF's campaign to vaccinate children against polio and Thailand's economic problems as a result of a drop in the price of rice.
The TV program, airing Sunday mornings in Burma and repeated during the week, expands VOA's Burmese Service (http://www.voanews.com/burmese/) radio programming, which now broadcasts 3.5 hours daily on shortwave. Research indicates about 12 percent of the urban households in Burma have satellite dishes, allowing them to see the new satellite TV program without interference.
Burma, a country with about 47 million people, has one of the most restrictive media environments in the world, according to Freedom House, the non-governmental organization that ranks press freedom around the world. VOA is only source of independent news and information about the United States in Burma.
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, please call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail askVOA@VOANews.com.