At 10 PM Peshawar time, a new television program went on the air. Deewa Radio, Voice of America’s popular Pashto language news service to the volatile border region of Northwest Pakistan, is now being broadcast on direct to home satellite TV.
The first of the daily one-hour satellite TV programs to the Federally Administered Tribal Area was broadcast Monday from the VOA studios in Washington and simulcast on radio and Asia Sat 3, which can be received in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Deewa first went on the air in 2006 and has built a significant audience along Pakistan’s rugged northwestern border with Afghanistan, where it is broadcast 24 hours a day on shortwave, AM and streamed on the Internet. In addition to its Washington staff, the service has a team of 26 reporters in the region and produces 9 hours of original programming every day.
VOA Director David Ensor says, “The one-hour simulcast of Deewa news on satellite TV will help VOA expand its audience in this critical region, which lacks impartial sources of information.” Ensor says, “Dish ownership is growing throughout the region and many people, especially the younger audience in Pakistan, get their news increasingly from TV. We hope to be able to build on what we started today by adding additional video elements to the program in the future.”
Deewa Radio’s dynamic program lineup includes news and current affairs shows, three daily call-in shows as well as contemporary Pashto music programs. The service’s multimedia website provides coverage of regional and international events and links to social media sites that offer the audience a platform for informed discussion.
In addition to Deewa, Voice of America produces a wide range of Urdu, Dari and Pashto language programs for the region that are broadcast on radio, television and the Internet.