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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: March 9, 2022

Audiences Turn to VOA Despite Russian Ban

Despite the Kremlin's efforts to block access to VOA Russian's website, it was still able to register more than 2 million views last week. The highest-performing video with more than 1.2 million views was a special edition of Context, which explains the linguistic impact of political events, specifically how Ukrainian border guards’ defense of the country’s Snake Island against a Russian warship became a battle cry for the Ukrainian people. The service’s interview with Russian dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky on the Anti-War Committee he created along with other well-known, exiled Russian public figures was also popular. VOA Russian’s coverage of the war, together with that of VOA Ukrainian--which garnered more than 2-million video views and over 116,000 interactions--provided audiences with fact-based reporting about the U.S. position on developments regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

VOA's Reporting of the Crisis in Ukraine Hits Home with Audiences in South & Central Asia

VOA Turkish interviewed Emrecan Tekin, a Turkish chef taking cover with his family near Donbass, Ukraine. Following publication of Tekin's plight, Turkey's Foreign Ministry asked VOA for Tekin’s contact information to attempt an evacuation. VOA Afghan sent a stringer to Poland to interview Afghan refugees crossing the Ukrainian border. His video report exceeded 430K views on Facebook. In Kyiv, VOA Uzbek’s Malik Mansur spoke with Erfan Quddusov, a prominent Crimean Tatar, who expressed his support for Ukraine’s fight against Russia. Asked why Pakistan abstained from a UN vote condemning Russia, UN Envoy Munir Akram told VOA Urdu he thought “the resolution was one-sided.” Led by the coverage of the war in Ukraine, South and Central Asia division services' reporting garnered more than 101M video views on Facebook in the last seven days.

VOA Spanish Interview with Norwegian Prime Minister on Ukraine Popular with the Audience

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre told VOA Spanish's Carolina Valladares in an exclusive interview that “we are not returning any Ukrainians from Norway.” The interview was shared with Central News, affiliates and posted in VOA platforms. Jonas Gahr Støre assures that Norway sees Russia as "an aggressor" that violates international law by executing an "intensified and brutal attack" against Ukraine. Norway is one of the few NATO countries that shares a border with Russia. The interview received more than 82K views on YouTube and more than 371K views on Facebook.

East Asia Audiences Flock to VOA's Coverage of Developments in Ukraine ​

As the war in Ukraine rages on, EAP language services’ timely, comprehensive reporting continues pulling in significant audience numbers across all multi-media platforms. VOA Mandarin’s interview with a Ukrainian university student about Sino-Russian ties generated 112,000 views on Twitter. She refuses to flee Ukraine and says people in China should know the truth about what’s happening. In addition, Khmer’s reporting about the war’s effect on Cambodia’s economy received 120,000 audio plays on social media. A story about two students from Indonesia telling VOA Indonesian about their hardships in Moscow, amid international sanctions against Russia, garnered 481,000 views on Facebook.

The War in Ukraine Drives Traffic to English Website, Social Media

VOA’s English language website remains a go-to site for accurate and timely reporting on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with traffic at about twice the levels from earlier this year. Myroslava Gongadze’s interview with an U.S. veteran preparing to go and fight with the Ukrainians included exclusive information from the Ukrainian embassy in Washington on the number of American volunteers and had nearly 65,000 page views. A running blog with war updates gets nearly 10,000 views a day, while a video of U.S. soldiers arriving in Poland had 863,000 views on Facebook.

Multiple Media Outlets Pick Up VOA Africa Exclusive Interviews

An English-to-Africa interview with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni discussing regional security, human rights abuses and confrontations with political opposition, garnered citations from local and international outlets including Al Jazeera, and was tweeted by Museveni himself. In addition, Deputy President of Kenya William Ruto visited VOA for interviews in English and Swahili to discuss the Kenyan elections, his fallout with President Uhuru Kenyatta, and his case before the ICC. This exchange, viewed more than 105k times on VOA Africa’s YouTube and broadcast live on Facebook, was cited by multiple Kenyan media outlets including The Standard,, and

VOA Persian’s State of the Union TV Special Draws High Audience Numbers

VOA Persian aired a State of the Union Special, with analysis by guests who discussed sanctions on Russia, JCPOA talks, and the crisis in Ukraine. Laden Yazdian, international relations expert, said, “Russia did not expect this number of sanctions from the U.S. and allies.” Mohsen Milani, professor of politics at the University of South Florida, said that "if the U.S. fails to stop Russia, we will enter a new era of the Cold War." Audience engagement spiked on Instagram when President Biden mentioned Ukraine (Instagram reach 1.14 million). Total audience engagement on all digital platforms surpassed 2,964,000.