Deewa Radio, the Voice of America’s (VOA) popular Pashto service broadcast to the war-torn Pakistan- Afghanistan border region, is expanding to nine hours daily starting Saturday, June 6, 2009.
“The time is right to add three more hours to Deewa’s original programming,” said Steve Redisch, VOA’s executive editor. “Deewa is often the only source of accurate news and information for the millions of people living in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and elsewhere. They rely on us daily for basic information.”
Created in October 2006, Deewa is aimed at an estimated 40 million Pashto-speaking people in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, including the NWFP where some 2.5 million people have been displaced as Pakistani military battle Taliban fighters. Deewa also reaches Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Balochistan.
Along with news, Deewa provides information about health, shelter, food, social issues, education, science and culture. The program reaches people in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and elsewhere. Up to 300 people routinely call in to Deewa during shows.
“Deewa is full of information,” said Syed Inam Rahman of the Centre for Media and Communications, International Islamic University of Islamabad, Pakistan. Rahman estimated the majority of people in Charsadda and Peshawar districts listened to Deewa regularly.
The newest block of programs will focus on news and current affairs, including regional and international news, reports from a network of more than 20 local free-lance journalists, segments on Muslims in America and on youth, a world press round-up and interviews with significant personalities.
The second hour will be a topical call-in show featuring a wide variety of issues affecting those in the targeted region. The final hour will be a repeat of the previous day’s morning call-in show, until July 4, when it will become a live news and current affairs program.