The Voice of America’s Deewa Service to the critically important Afghanistan-Pakistan border region celebrated its 10th anniversary on Thursday at a ceremony at VOA headquarters in Washington.
VOA Deewa (Light) began broadcasting in Pashto on August 25, 2006, with only five minutes of radio daily. Today, the service produces nine hours of radio broadcasts per day, three of which are radio on TV, including a popular call-in show for women, Adorable Woman, that has “given a voice to half the population of the region,” according to VOA Deewa Service Chief Nafees Takar.
VOA Director Amanda Bennett commended the service as a vital communications link with the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan Provinces in support of freedom and democracy during the rise of the Taliban, and through the challenges this volatile region faces today. “This is a small but mighty service. This speaks to its creativity and bravery, and especially its work that brings women out of the shadows,” said Bennett.
“They are serving one of the most difficult areas and most complicated areas of the world, where violence and extremism are a daily occurrence,” said VOA South and Central Asia Division Director Akbar Ayazi.
VOA Deewa radio and television provide news and information to a potential audience of more than 50 million Pashtuns. The region lacks local independent sources of information on regional, international and U.S. news. With a military narrative, jihadi agenda and extremist groups dominating the region’s state and private media market, VOA Deewa is a respected source of objective and accurate news and information via digital platforms, direct-to-home satellite, radio and the Internet.