Reporting on Russia
Led by RFE/RL and in cooperation with VOA, the Current Time television and digital network represents a unified response to Russian disinformation, with programming aimed at Russian-speaking audiences in countries neighboring Russia—from the Baltics to the Black Sea, and East to Central Asia
In addition to editorial and resource coordination, the VOA and RFE/RL Russian Services jointly conducted high impact VIP interviews in Moscow with the opposition leader Alexei Navalny and with U.S. Ambassador to Russia, John Tefft.
Countering Violent Extremism
BBG networks share content on a routine basis to offer objective and balanced reporting on the spread of violent extremism and to counter disinformation promulgated by extremist movements. VOA’s Extremism Watch Desk shares content in 13 languages with the other BBG networks. Alhurra shared its critically acclaimed series Delusional Paradise with the other networks, who are airing and adapting the material. The network also shares interviews and footage dealing with violent extremism from the region with the other BBG entities. RFA’s English language site has a section with a robust selection of articles from sister entities on extremist unrest and terrorism.
VOA and RFA conduct weekly content-sharing calls, use each other’s original reports when appropriate, and have limited cross-linking of website content. During the U.S. elections, editors and managers from both networks exchanged coverage plans daily, and the networks coordinated broadcast schedules to maximize coverage and dissemination of news on Election Day.
VOA and RFE/RL coordinated Persian language coverage on major issues including the U.S.-led international effort to fight ISIS, the conflict in Syria, major speeches and statements by President Obama and Secretary Kerry, Democratic and Republican National Conventions, and key congressional hearings, always with a strong emphasis on human rights and women’s rights issues in Iran. Additionally, a reporter from Radio Farda appeared as a weekly guest commentator in VOA’s New Horizon show.
OCB and VOA Spanish increased their cooperation and coverage coordination on multiple fronts by sharing reports, staff and facilities to cover special events to mutual benefit.
For example, VOA correspondents filed reports for OCB from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. OCB sharing facilities, equipment and studio space in Miami with visiting VOA reporters, including from the VOA Creole Service. Furthermore, OCB produces a weekly Venezuela-related program for OCB and the VOA Latin America satellite feed.
In addition to their now-routine collaboration on news coverage, VOA and RFE/RL expanded coordination in 2016 to include a joint seminar on the current and future status of media in Afghanistan; extensive shared coverage of key events, including the NATO summit and Orlando massacre; close coordination on the shared Kabul bureau; and joint journalism trainings and exchange fellowships.
In 2016, VOA and RFE/RL’s Ukrainian services successfully collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to respond to a polio outbreak in Ukraine. Both CDC officers and Ukrainian officials, tasked with the polio eradication, sent thank you notes and highly praised VOA and RFE/RL’s collaboration and contribution to the awareness campaign to eradicate the disease.
In January 2016, reporters from VOA and Alhurra Television traveled to Rhode Island to do a joint story on the Syrian and Iraqi communities in the state. Both teams shared interviews and footage as they worked together to create a series of unique reports that aired on Alhurra’s Al Youm (Today) program and VOA’s All Over the Map web series.
MBN regularly uses VOA reports within its primetime newscasts, The Global and The World Today, on topics such as fighting in the Syrian city of Manbij; a Muslim police officer in New York who is considered a hero for driving a vehicle suspected of containing explosives away from a crowd; Muslim-American volunteerism; and ISIS’s practice of slavery.
Alhurra aired VOA’s Faith in Freedom: The Journey of Muslim American Candidates. The 30-minute documentary serves as a catalyst for conversation as it follows four Muslim-Americans running for public office. Faith in Freedom gives target audiences a firsthand look at local politics and democracy in action within the United States.
When Alhurra’s Raise Your Voice interviewed the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry about the fight against ISIS and the future of the Middle East, the interview was shared with all other networks. VOA and RFE/RL used it in stories posted on their websites.