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VOA Weekly Programming Highlights: June 9, 2022

VOA Provides Perspective on Balkan Countries’ Ban of Russian Foreign Minister’s Flight to Serbia

VOA Serbian’s coverage offering U.S. reaction and analysis of the cancelled visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Serbia dominated TV and online news in the target area. VOA was the first to report on State Department spokesperson Ned Price's comments saying NATO members – Montenegro, North Macedonia and Bulgaria’s – decision to close their airspace to Lavrov’s plane reflected Europe’s commitment to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked, unjustified aggression in Ukraine. His comments were widely cited in media in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and North Macedonia. VOA’s coverage featured interviews with Strahinja Subotic of the Center for European Politics, Stefan Vladislavljev of the Center for Political Excellence, Russian daily Kommersant’s Balkan correspondent Genady Sisoyev and Vuk Vuksanovic of the Belgrade Center for Security Policy.

VOA Kurdish Team Travels to Sweden for Coverage of Controversy Surrounding Country’s NATO Bid

VOA Kurdish’s Dakhil Shammo conducted exclusive interviews with Swedish lawmakers, exiled human rights activists, and political observers regarding Turkey’s opposition to Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “[Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan now has said that he will not allow [Sweden to become a NATO member] as long as I am a member of the parliament,” Aminah Kakabaveh, a Kurdish member of Sweden's parliament, told VOA. The interview with Kakabaveh generated 44,000 views and 2,500 reactions on Facebook.

Audiences Flock to VOA Mandarin’s Coverage of Tiananmen Vigils Worldwide

VOA Mandarin’s website traffic soared as it provided comprehensive, in-depth reporting on the anniversary of the crackdown on student protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989. From London to Paris, Hong Kong to Taipei and California to Washington, the service covered events honoring the hundreds of protesters killed 33 years ago. Original stories included an interview with one of the Tiananmen protesters, which alone generated 340,000 views online. VOA’s discussion with experts in Taipei and Washington on whether China will see similar protests again generated 116,000 views.

VOA Affiliates in Latin America Depend on VOA's Coverage of the IX Summit of the Americas

VOA Spanish service deployed a team of multimedia correspondents to cover the IX Latin American Summit in Los Angeles. From Sunday, June 4 through Friday, June 10 correspondents will provide content for all platforms and live hits for affiliates in the region. Just the first day, Sunday, June 5, from 6am to 9pm VOA produced more than 90 live hits for affiliates. Coverage includes high-profile interviews with officials like the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian A. Nichols.

Audiences in Africa Engage with VOA's Comprehensive Coverage of Tensions Between DRC and Rwanda

In English, French, Kinyarwanda, and Swahili, VOA has been heavily focused on coverage of the fighting in eastern Congo between DRC’s FARDC and Rwanda’s M23 groups. Along with analysis from security and political experts, VOA interviewed the Rwandan Ambassador to the DRC via Skype in five languages and the Ugandan Defense Minister on radio. An in-person interview with the DRC Foreign Minister has received more than 120k views combined on Facebook and YouTube. Stringers throughout the region are providing daily updates on the brewing conflict.

VOA Persian's TV Special on Iran and Russia Engage the Audience

VOA Persian produced two special programs; an analysis of Abadan's building collapse and a one-hour special on Iran and Russia, hosted by Siamak Dehghanpour. With original reports and interviews with 9 experts, VOA exposed the false narrative being pushed by the Islamic Republic about the nature of Iran-Russia relations. Nikolay Kozhanov, former Russian Embassy political attaché said that Russia wants to use Iran as a transportation corridor to ease sanctions pressure. Dmitry Shlapentokh, history professor, agreed. “Russia doesn’t view Iran as a strategic partner; it's more transactional." Audience engagement surpassed 2,258,550 on all digital platforms.

VOA's Coverage of Developments in Russia and Ukraine Sited by U.S. Domestic Publications

Press freedom reporter Sirwan Kajjo’s article on a Russian threat to retaliate against American reporters was cited by The Hill. The second sentence of the article read: “Representatives from a handful of U.S. news outlets met with Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Monday, a journalist with knowledge of the meeting told Voice of America …” Sirwan’s report on the deaths of journalists covering the war in Ukraine was cited by the New York Post. “At least 32 other journalists had been killed while covering the invasion in Ukraine, the country’s journalism union told the Voice of America,” it said.

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.