The Voice of America turns 70

(Source: Diplomatic Courier)

“The news may be good. The news may be bad. We shall tell you the truth.” – William Harlan Hale; February 1, 1942

Such began the first broadcast of a small team of dedicated men transmitting live from a claustrophobic New York City studio into Nazi Germany.  Their group had no name, although their first broadcast was titled Stimmen aus Amerika—Voices from America. The equipment they used was borrowed.  They had no direction as to what they would broadcast, except the truth.  At that moment, the United States stepped into a role as guardian of the power of ideas and honest messenger of information to all corners of the world.

From the very beginning, the Voice of America has held at its core the mission to present to the world the policies and culture of the United States, while reporting on global news events accurately, clearly, and objectively.  It has been one of the U.S.’s most effective public relations initiatives. All around the world, the Voice of America is highly respected as an honest and fair messenger, and in many places, as the only comprehensive source of news free from propaganda.  From Nazi Germany to Communist Eastern Europe to Kim Jong Il’s North Korea, VOA has often been the only connection to the outside world that people of repressive regimes have. […]

Today, VOA broadcasts through the Internet, television, and a network of AM, FM, and shortwave radio signals. The approximately 1500 hours of programs per week include features on American culture, learning English, international news, discussion programs, and regionally focused programs to address the needs of the local populations.  VOA broadcasts in 43 languages, televising programs in 26 of those, and reaches 141 million people weekly. All this makes VOA one of the largest multimedia news organizations in the world.

Read the full story at the Diplomatic Courier website.

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