“VOA’s broadcasts changed my views on the world and many events. To me, VOA is the most valuable source of information,” Mr. Miu from North China’s Hebei Province told VOA Director Amanda Bennett. Another viewer, Mr. Ah Zhen from Jilin Province, added that news is tightly controlled in China, but VOA provides information that people like him cannot get through other means.
The VOA Director engaged in a lively give-and-take with VOA Chinese audience and explained VOA’s mission, especially in regard to China, when she appeared on the Mandarin simulcast call-in show Issues and Opinions Monday morning. More than a dozen ordinary Chinese participated in the show either by calling directly from China or posting their questions on YouTube live chat. Most of them gave a very positive assessment of VOA Mandarin broadcasting and expressed the hope that Mandarin programming should be expanded.
Director Bennett said she personally would like to increase broadcasting to China, but VOA, like other international broadcasters, also faces budget constraints. She said VOA should utilize more platforms and broaden reporting scope, such as provide more news on new technology.
Currently, VOA Mandarin Service broadcasts two hours of live TV programming, seven days a week. One hour focuses on important news of the day, the other hour provides discussion of current affairs with live audience participation. These talk shows include Issues and Opinions, Pro & Con and Strait Talk. The Mandarin Service also has six hours of radio each day. Millions of people climbed over China’s “Great Fire Wall” to log on to Mandarin web site, and thousands of people watch its TV shows on YouTube. Mandarin Service is also active on social media.