Tag Archives: VOA News

The Voice of America celebrates 75 years

Willis Conover interviewing Louis Armstrong (Photo source: Inside VOA)

(Source: VOA News)

A little more than seven weeks after the United States officially entered World War II, a live, 15-minute shortwave radio broadcast was transmitted into Germany from a small studio in New York City on February 1, 1942.

It was introduced by the American patriotic song “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Then, announcer William Harlan Hale’s voice could be heard saying: “We bring you Voices from America. Today, and daily from now on, we shall speak to you about America and the war. The news may be good for us. The news may be bad. But we shall tell you the truth.”

That was the very first broadcast from what, 75 years later, is now the Washington-headquartered Voice of America.

By the end of the war, VOA was broadcasting in 40 languages, with programming consisting of music, news and commentary.

Since then, VOA has grown into a multimedia international broadcasting service, with programming and content in 47 languages on multiple platforms, including radio, television and mobile.

On that first broadcast, announcer Hale’s words set the standard for future programs.

?And since 1976, his words have carried the weight of the VOA Charter, which by law requires VOA to “serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news.” What’s more, it says VOA news must “be accurate, objective and comprehensive.”

“It’s been 75 years since we first began broadcasting objective news and information around the world,” said VOA Director Amanda Bennett. “And now, I think what we do here is more important than ever.”

Over the years, VOA correspondents and freelance reporters in many parts of the world have been on the scene to cover major world events.

In 1989, VOA East European correspondent Jolyon Naegele reported on demonstrations in Czechoslovakia and the fall of the communist government. Later that year, on the other side of the world, VOA increased programming and added staff to its Beijing bureau to cover the student-led demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. Beijing Bureau chief Al Pessin was expelled from China for his reporting.

Today, VOA broadcasts news and other programming through 2,500 television and radio affiliates around the world. At the same time, it provides content for mobile devices and interacts with audiences through social media.

As of 2016, VOA’s weekly audience across all platforms averaged more than 236 million people worldwide.

Check out more information on our VOA 75th anniversary page.

Click here to read this article on the VOA News website.

Castro wants an end to US broadcasts directed at Cuba

Havana, Cuba (Photo: Wikimedia)

Havana, Cuba (Photo: Wikimedia)

(Source: VOA News)

Cuban President Raul Castro is urging the U.S. government to stop radio and television broadcasts that Cuba considers harmful, while also saying that his government is willing to keep improving relations with the United States.

In a speech broadcast on state television Friday, Castro said that his government will “continue insisting that to reach normalized relations, it is imperative that the United States government eliminate all of these policies from the past.”

He noted that the U.S. government continues to broadcast to Cuba, including transmissions of Radio Marti and TV Marti, despite Cuba’s objections. Radio Marti and TV Marti are overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is also the parent organization of the Voice of America.

Castro also criticized U.S. immigration policy that allows Cuban migrants to live in the United States if they reach U.S. territory.

“A preferential migration policy continues to be applied to Cuban citizens, which is evidenced by the enforcement of the wet foot/dry foot policy, the Medical Professional Parole Program and the Cuban Adjustment Act, which encourage an illegal, unsafe, disorderly and irregular migration, foment human smuggling and other related crimes, and create problems to other countries,” Castro said.

Continue reading on VOA News online…

VOA protests jamming of English service to China

voa logo(Source: VOA)

The Voice of America is protesting new jamming of its English broadcasts in China.

VOA Director David Ensor condemned the new interference and said the U.S. government broadcaster is working with experts to determine the precise origin of the jamming. He said “the free flow of information is a universal right and VOA will continue to provide accurate and balanced information on platforms that can reach audiences in areas subject to censorship.”

The U.S.-funded VOA is not the only victim of jamming. The British Broadcasting Corporation said this week its shortwave English radio broadcasts also are being jammed in China.

The BBC said that while it is not possible to know who is doing the jamming, “the extensive and co-ordinated efforts are indicative of a well-resourced country such as China.”

VOA broadcast engineers say Radio Australia also is being jammed.

At VOA headquarters in Washington, engineers say that while the agency’s Chinese-language broadcasts are routinely jammed in China, its English broadcasts usually are not. They noticed the jamming of the English programs about a month ago and say it appears to use a new technology.

Many countries have used various methods to jam VOA broadcasts for decades, especially during the Cold War when VOA broadcast heavily into the former Soviet Union and other countries under Communist control. Now, its Persian satellite television broadcasts into Iran are frequently jammed, as are VOA Horn of Africa broadcasts to Ethiopia.

Note our previous article on the topic of harmful interference from China.