The Voice of America (VOA) has expanded coverage of Zimbabwe’s presidential run-off election to provide up-to-the-minute, multi-media news and information to millions in the country, which has experienced a surge in political violence.
Responding to the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe, VOA’s Studio 7 program has doubled radio broadcasts in English, Shona and Ndebele (the primary languages in the country), enhanced Internet offerings, and increased subscribers to its daily e-mail news bulletins.
“We are using every available avenue to get accurate news to Zimbabweans leading up to the June 27 presidential run-off,” said VOA Director Danforth Austin. “Providing a multi-media stream of timely news and information to the people of Zimbabwe is critical during this time,” he added.
Studio 7 airs 19 hours of radio broadcasts weekly to Zimbabwe, including a repeat of its 90-minute evening broadcast. Programming includes reports from correspondents on the ground, interviews with local political leaders, and local, regional and world news. The service offers daily news bulletins via text message to more than 15,000 subscribers in Zimbabwe and ongoing updates online.
Though the Harare government has been deliberately interfering with Studio 7’s AM signal for the past two years, the program reaches listeners on shortwave and VOA now reaches more than 10% of adults each week, the largest audience of any international broadcaster in Zimbabwe. In addition, VOA’s website traffic increased 126% between January and May.
Studio 7 broadcasts seven days a week at 7:00 p.m. local time on medium-wave (AM) and shortwave radio. From Monday through Friday program segments are 30 minutes each in English, Shona, and Ndebele.