September 30, 2008
USA: VOA Closes Radio Services to Reach Audiences Via TV, Internet
Text of press release by VOA News.com website on 29 September
Voice of America (VOA) is ceasing radio broadcasts in Hindi, Bosnian, Serbian, and Macedonian on September 30, 2008, using available resources to reach audiences in those markets through television and the Internet.
No VOA language service will be shut down and no jobs will be lost.
VOA also is discontinuing its 30-minute Russian weekly television program and will deliver text, audio, and video content to Russia's fast-growing Internet market. VOA will be accessible through digital devices, including mobile Internet devices, cell phones that receive text and multi-media messages, and MP3 players. VOA's Russian radio broadcasts ended in July 2008.
The change in VOA Russian's program delivery reflects the crackdown on independent media and freedom of speech in Russia. Russian government pressure has forced almost all VOA local radio and television affiliates to drop VOA and other international broadcasts. Shortwave radio listenership also has continued to decline throughout the country, with fewer than two per cent of Russians using this medium weekly.
"We owe great thanks to the VOA radio journalists who have broadcast to these countries over the years," said VOA Director Danforth Austin.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) will continue radio broadcasting to Russia, Bosnia, Macedonia, and Serbia.
VOA and RFE/RL are part of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the independent government agency that oversees all U.S. international broadcasting.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.
Originally published by VOA News.com website, Washington D.C., in English 29 Sep 08.
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