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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: December 21, 2022

VOA Correspondent's Twitter Suspension Causes Media Storm

VOA News Center’s chief national correspondent Steve Herman was suspended from Twitter, along with eight other journalists, for referencing a banned account tracking Elon Musk’s private jet. VOA, the Association for International Broadcasting, the American Foreign Service Association, and other organizations issued statements supporting free speech. Herman spoke to major media outlets including the BBC, CBC, and CNN. More than 40 news organizations covered the story including ABC Radio (Australia), The Atlantic, Axios, CBS, Daily Beast, El Pais (Spain), Forbes, Fox News, Globe Echo (England), INN (Israel), LA Times, Money FM (Singapore), NBC, PBS, Politico, Washington Post, and Yahoo.

Members of Congress Offer VOA Exclusive Interviews on the U.S. Security Assistance to Ukraine

VOA’s value-added coverage of last week’s passage by Congress of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which extended and boosted U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, featured exclusive interviews with National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby and Representatives Greg Murphy (R-MD), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), following a classified briefing on Ukraine-related developments. VOA Ukrainian was the only Ukrainian language media organization to provide exclusive commentary on the $800-million package, confirming bipartisan support for continued U.S. assistance to Ukraine. Kirby told VOA Russian the main task of the U.S. is to provide Ukraine with everything necessary to defend itself and retake territory seized by Russia. The interview was republished by independent Belarusian media outlet NEXTA, which broadcasts on Telegram and YouTube.

VOA Interviews 6 African Presidents During Second U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

Coverage of President Biden’s three-day summit with African heads of state included television and radio packages previewing the three-day event, vox pops from the continent, interviews with high-level officials, infographics and explainers, live streaming of the forums and events on social media, and more than 40 live hits with affiliate stations across Africa. VOA Africa interviewed the Presidents of Uganda, Angola, Niger, Chad, Sierra Leone, and the Comoros, as well as the First Ladies of Cape Verde and Niger, the Prime Minister of Cape Verde, the Foreign Minister of Guinea-Bissau, and the Foreign Minister of Zimbabwe.

Month-long World Cup Coverage Attracts Audiences, Grows VOA Spanish Followers

VOA Spanish wrapped its month-long World Cup coverage with more than 1.7 million views across social media, and 5K additional YouTube and Instagram subscribers. Correspondents Iacopo Luzi and Nelson Vignolles conducted more than a dozen FB lives, participated in live reports for VOA Spanish program Foro, and serviced more than 50 daily lives and requests for LatAm and Central News affiliates, including India’s NDTV, throughout the event, on the final match day and after the tournament’s conclusion. Human interest stories were bridged into English, like hijab-wearing TikTok viral footballer Maymi Asgari, Paraguayan artist Lili Cantero’s sports art, and the parallel fan zone for migrants who built the World Cup's infrastructure.

VOA Mandarin's Multimedia Coverage of China's COVID Policy Attracts Significant Audience

As China's zero-COVID policy takes a U-turn, from draconian lockdowns to a 'let it rip' opening, VOA Mandarin provided comprehensive multimedia coverage of the social, political and economic impact of the surging cases and possible deaths. Mandarin service's TV talk show featuring a Beijing scholar who shared his personal experience during the chaotic opening, attracted more than 1.2 million views on YouTube and other social media platforms. The service's three-times-a-week digital program "Day Day Up" followed China's situation closely, with a single episode reaching 450K on YouTube alone and attracting close to 1K audience comments.

VOA Persian’s Coverage of United Nations Commission Vote to Expel Iran a Hit with Viewers

VOA Persian covered the vote to expel the Islamic Republic of Iran from the United Nations Commission on Women. Hamideh Aramideh hosted a special program with three guests, as Iranians rallied to protest the execution of protesters. Rozita Irandoost reported from Washington, Amir Giti reported from Los Angeles, and Mahdi Aghazamani reported from New York City. Roya Boroumand, executive director of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, told VOA, “The international community has shown that its tolerance for the violence and discrimination by the Islamic Republic is over.” Audience engagement on all digital platforms for this programming surpassed 1.44 million.

VOA Deewa's Coverage of Deadly Afghanistan-Pakistan Border Clashes Draws Significant Audience

As the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani forces clashed near the border town of Chaman, VOA Deewa reporter spoke with the victims of the violence. “My son was killed in the shelling,” Juma Khan told VOA, adding that the victim had just been married three days prior. “We are daily wagers, and we lost our work due to the clashes,” another injured resident of the border region said. A video report showing the scene at Chaman-Spin Boldak crossing generated 1.4 million views while total weekly video views surpassed 8 million on Facebook.

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.