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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: February 9, 2023

VOA Turkish and Kurdish Earthquake Coverage Generates Significant Traffic on Digital Platforms

VOA Turkish and Kurdish services' reporters rushed to the region affected by the powerful earthquake in south-eastern Turkey and Syria to cover the devastation in Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Kahramanmaras, and other cities. “My brother and his wife were on the 3rd floor,” a Gaziantep resident told VOA. “Unfortunately, we have not received any information about them yet.” A single VOA Turkish video generated 2.7 million views on Facebook in 48 hours, while VOA Kurdish Facebook content reached two million views in the last two days.

VOA Reporting on Future U.S. Military Support to Ukraine Widely Cited in Ukraine and Globally

VOA’s reporting made the headlines in major U.S., international and Ukrainian media organizations following President Biden’s response to VOA Ukrainian’s question on the possibility of the U.S. sending F-16 fighting jets to Ukraine. Pick-ups included POLITICO, BBC, Fox News, Financial Times, Reuters and more than 60 Ukrainian media. VOA's coverage on future military support to Ukraine also included interviews with Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), James Lankford (R-OK) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), analyst Gordon Davis (CEPA) and the Ukrainian Embassy Defense Attaché, Major General Borys Kremenetskyi, who told VOA Ukrainian that troops will finish training on U.S. Patriot systems “within weeks."

Reporting on Pope's Visit to Africa Drives Nearly One Million Views to Digital Platforms

The VOA Africa division's coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to the DRC and South Sudan included live streams of events, interviews with experts, reactions from members of the public and multimedia reports from Kinshasa, Goma, Juba, and Bor. The division live-streamed the Pope's arrival in Kinshasa on 15 language services' Facebook pages and websites, as well as 12 language services' YouTube channels. The live streams recorded more than 6,000 concurrent video views and more than 900k video views to date.

Social Media Engagement Soars on VOA Mandarin’s Chinese Spy Balloon Coverage

Audiences flocked to VOA Mandarin’s up-to-the-minute reports on the sighting of the Chinese balloon over the U.S. Coverage generated spirited debate online, with some netizens questioning Beijing’s claim it was a weather balloon, and others saying Washington’s slow response exposed weak defensive capabilities. Reporting included reaction, explainers and analysis of the repercussions for Sino-American relations after Secretary of State Blinken postponed his high-profile trip to China. VOA Mandarin’s expansive content was eagerly consumed, with coverage generating more than a million views and nearly 200k engagement actions on Twitter in three days (2/3/23 to 2/6/23).

VOA Story About El Salvador’s Drop in Crime Retweeted by President Bukele, Gets 1M Twitter Views

A VOA Spanish story about a drop in crime and violence in El Salvador’s La Campanera neighborhood, once deemed among the most dangerous, got more than 11.8k web page views and more than 929K views on Twitter in less than a week. The drop in crime is considered a result of El Salvador's state of exception order and crackdown on gangs through military deployments, which has also raised concerns about human rights violations. President Nayib Bukele retweeted the story, capturing an additional 772k views in the last 5 days.

VOA News Center's Reporting on the Myanmar Coup Two-Year Mark Sparks Audience Engagement

VOA News Center reporting on the two-year mark of the Myanmar coup highlighted continuing tensions, tightened security, the lagging economy, U.S. and Australian sanctions, and pressure on ASEAN leaders to act, as the U.N. warned of impending sham elections. Correspondents reported on Myanmar’s oppressed journalists, youth resistance, and anti-coup protests in Thailand and the Philippines. Ingyin Naing’s interview with Duwa Lashi La, acting president of Myanmar’s opposition National Unity Government, generated 1.2m views and 103,000 engagements on Facebook, and 33,000 views on YouTube, in one week.

VOA Persian's Special on Access to Legal Representation in Iran Resonates with Audience

Siamak Dehghanpour’s special program, “Lawyering in Crisis”, examined the issues of lawyers in custody and protesters' access to attorneys, as more than 40 lawyers have been arrested to date in Iran. The special program featured human rights lawyers Saleh Nikbakht, the lawyer of Mahsa Amini's family, Shirin Ebadi, Saeid Dehghan, and Nemat Ahmadi, who discussed the issues of protesters on trial that are denied legal representation and the arrests of human rights lawyers by the Islamic Republic. Audience engagement for this programming on all digital platforms surpassed 665k in the last week.

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.