The Voice of America’s weekly unduplicated audience reached 278 million in Fiscal Year 2020, according to the new performance and accountability annual report released November 16 by VOA’s parent agency, the U.S. Agency for Global Media.
Significant increases to VOA’s audience were measured in the Democratic Republic of Congo (3.4 million, including more than 2 million in the Lingala language), northern Iraq (approximately 1 million) and Venezuela (0.8 million - a 44 percent increase from the last measurement taken in 2016). These gains offset losses in Ukraine (1.6 million), Turkey (2.4 million) and Cambodia (1.1 million), due to the loss of key affiliates in these markets and the Cambodian government’s ban on nearly all local affiliates.
The report also showed considerable growth for VOA’s digital audiences, often at the expense of radio audiences. For example, VOA’s social media engagement greatly exceeded the FY20 target, realizing a 60 percent increase over the previous year.
“The Voice of America continues to produce exceptional journalism and serves as a reliable source of fair and balanced information, providing an effective counter to disinformation that abounds from dictatorial and authoritarian regimes around the world,” noted VOA’s Acting Director Elez Biberaj. “It is encouraging to see that information-deprived audiences continue to turn to the trusted VOA brand for global news.”
VOA’s program credibility marker, the percentage of weekly audience that considers the network’s information to be very or somewhat trustworthy, remained at 83 percent, signaling that VOA continues to earn the trust of the great majority of its audience. In addition, the report indicates that 64 percent of VOA’s audience considers the network’s programming helpful in forming opinions on important topics, representing a slight uptick from the previous year.