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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: May 19, 2022

U.S. Lawmakers Voice Support for Ukraine, in Exclusive Interviews with VOA

VOA’s Ukrainian and Russian services delivered the U.S. perspective on the latest developments regarding the war in Ukraine, landing exclusive interviews with five U.S. lawmakers during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearings on $40-billion in additional aid for Ukraine. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Chris Coons (D-DE) and Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) spoke about their support for the aid package, as well as the potential designation of Russia as a state-sponsor of terrorism, the Lend-Lease Act for Ukraine and the impact of Russia’s war on world hunger. Congressman Wilson said once the U.S. designates Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, additional sanctions will be imposed. The interviews were seen on Ukrainian national television.

VOA the Go-to Site for Coverage of U.S.-ASEAN Summit

President Biden and Southeast Asian leaders met in Washington last week for a summit that addressed Indo-Pacific security, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, trade relations, human rights and efforts to end violence in Myanmar. The News Center coordinated White House access for more than a dozen language service reporters and produced several reports previewing and wrapping up the summit. VOA’s State Department Bureau Chief Nike Ching scored an interview with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jung Pak, which garnered more than 130,000 views and interactions in Burmese and Mandarin social media pages. In addition, audiences flocked to EAP’s comprehensive reporting on the much-anticipated meeting in Washington, significantly increasing social media traffic. A VOA Burmese exclusive interview with the foreign minister of Myanmar’s government-in-exile garnered nearly a million views on Facebook. VOA Khmer’s weekly viewership on YouTube topped 3 million - a live interview with protesters alone received 227,000 views. In addition, VOA Mandarin’s special coverage featuring video clips and original stories generated more than 72,000 total views. EAP's news packages, which included more than 20 live reports to affiliates, scored big in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan.

Comprehensive Coverage of Somali Presidential Elections Draws Audiences to VOA

On radio, television, and web, VOA Somali extensively covered Somalia’s Presidential elections with reporters on the ground in Mogadishu and stringers throughout the region talking to locals and experts, as well as interviewing five of the candidates, including the only female candidate. A Facebook live stream on election day garnered nearly 500k video views in 24 hours. The service regularly updated digital platforms with results of each round of the election, including the final result declaring Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as President, and engaged audiences by posting questions asking predictions for each round.

VOA Persian's Coverage of Growing Wave of Anti-government Protests in Iran Engages the Audience

VOA Persian has been covering the growing protests in dozens of provinces and cities in Iran. The service aired a special on the Islamic Republic's violent crackdown of protests. Mahtab Vahidirad interviewed experts who discussed the failure of Iran’s government to sustain the economy and the events that led up to the people's protests. Roshanak Astaraki, Saeed Bashirtash, and Mohammad Sadegh Javadi-Hesar agreed that unfortunately Iran will continue to respond to these protests with violence without attempting to resolve the economic crisis. Audience engagement for this coverage on all digital platforms surpassed 1,630,500.

Former U.S. National Security Advisor Calls Taliban Government “Very Fragile” in Interview to VOA Afghan

“I think [the] Taliban regime is a very fragile regime,” former U.S. national security advisor, John Bolton told VOA Afghan in an interview. "And the evidence of their incompetence gives me some reason to think that if the resistance can get a foothold and begin to grow, this Taliban regime is weaker than the one that was overthrown after 9/11.” Bolton saw “encouraging signs” in the anti-Taliban spring offensive by insurgent forces. The interview was picked up by a number of local outlets, including Afghanistan International.

VOA Spanish Coverage of NASA Projects Yields Digital Traffic and Media Pick Ups

A new spacecraft is almost ready for its mission to an asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists hope the journey will uncover clues into the origins of Earth. Veronica Villafañe visited NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to see the spacecraft and speak with mission scientists. An explainer by Toni Belchi included interviews with NASA scientists on a plan to send astronauts to the Moon through project Artemis. The stories had more than 80k views on social media and they were picked up by media partners.

VOA Programming Highlights are compiled based on information available from multiple sources at the time of posting. This information constantly evolves. If you intend to cite to information posted in VOA Highlights, please consult VOA Public Relations at to ensure it is accurate and current.