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VOA Partners with NRT TV in Iraqi Kurdistan

VOA Kurdish Service broadcaster Dakhil Elias hosts the weekly TV show Kurd Connection, now airing on NRT-TV in Iraqi Kurdistan

Voice of America’s Kurdish-language TV program is now airing on NRT TV, one of the most popular channels in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The VOA Kurdish Service’s first-ever TV affiliate, NRT TV, will broadcast its weekly program Kurd Connection on Sunday evenings, with a rebroadcast the following day.

VOA is also providing NRT TV with ad-hoc live coverage. A VOA Kurdish reporter appeared on NRT TV's evening prime news hour Thursday for a 10-minute live Q & A, acting as the station’s “U.S. bureau,” providing Washington's reaction to the latest developments in Iraq. The service provided another live cut-in Friday about the increasingly tense situation in Iraq.

"Our journalists are able to provide the U.S. perspective on the ongoing conflict in Iraq to an audience that is underserved by traditional media outlets," said VOA Director David Ensor. “This new affiliate agreement allows us to better reach audiences on the platforms they prefer.”

VOA is the only government-funded international broadcaster with a Kurdish service, and reaches its audience on radio, television and the Internet.

In addition to the new TV affiliate, the Kurdish Service recently launched an enhanced digital strategy, nearly doubling traffic for both the Sorani and Kurmanji language sites this week . A social media push immediately following President Obama's address Thursday has resulted in a spike in Web traffic and Facebook likes.

VOA Kurdish radio programs are broadcast by shortwave and AM, as well as on FM affiliates in several cities in Iraq, including Arbil, Sulaimania, Kirkuk, Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra.

VOA Kurdish programs target more than 30 million Kurds living in the Middle East and Eurasia, and audience research indicates that the broadcasts are popular among listeners in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.