Washington, D.C., February 19, 2010 – Using radio, television and SMS, Voice of America (VOA) is keeping French and Hausa-speaking audiences in Africa up-to-date with the latest information on the coup in Niger.
"Yesterday, I felt as if I were in Niger thanks to the multiple SMS messages I received," said a resident of the Democratic Republic of Congo in an e-mail to VOA.
Within 24 hours of the coup, more than 800 people signed up for text messages in French. VOA Hausa released hourly SMS updates to its nearly 60,000 subscribers.
Issoufou Mamane, a Hausa-speaking VOA reporter in Niamey, was live with on-air reports from the ground shortly after Thursday's coup when Nigerien soldiers attacked the presidential palace, seizing President Mamadou Tandja.
Squadron chief Salou Djibo leads Niger's new Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy. Tandja, who had been criticized since he changed the country's constitution last year to allow himself to remain in power, is reportedly being held in a military barracks outside the capital.
In Niamey, Nigers capital, VOA French-to-Africa reporter Ousman Toudou reported that the curfew has been lifted, the airport reopened and some of the cabinet ministers seized Thursday were released.
As part of its programming, VOA conducted radio and television interviews with supporters and opponents of the coup, Western analysts and listeners who called the live programs.
VOA's French to Africa Service broadcasts on radio, television, and the Internet to 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Weekly programs, including 19 hours of radio and Washington Forum, a 30-minute interactive TV-radio debate, are available on the Internet at www.VOANews.com/French and www.lavoixdelamerique.com. VOA Hausa (www.VOANews.com/hausa/), with a weekly audience of about 21 million, broadcasts 13 hours a week on radio to Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Chad and Cameroon.
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 more than 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages and are intended exclusively for audiences outside of the United States.
For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.