The Voice of America (VOA) will carry the first presidential candidates’ debate on foreign affairs live from Oxford, Mississippi on September 26, 2008, providing international audiences with analyses and commentary.
VOA, the largest U.S. international broadcaster, is sending a team of journalists to cover the debate between Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Barack Obama, D-Ill.
VOA journalists from English-language programs as well as those from Hindi, Urdu, Persian and Central African services will be on location at the University of Mississippi, with supplemental coverage at VOA’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.
In a special program aimed at Urdu-speaking audiences in Pakistan, VOA and Pakistan TV (PTV) will assemble panelists in Islamabad and Washington to discuss issues raised in the debate about U.S. relations with Pakistan and its neighbors.
“The 2008 presidential election is generating intense interest around the world,” said VOA Director Danforth W. Austin. “VOA – reaching about 134 million people in 45 languages – is uniquely poised to explain to its audiences the differences and similarities in the candidates’ foreign policy positions.”
VOA will also cover future debates, including those between McCain and Obama at Belmont University, Nashville, Tenn., on October 7, and at Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y., on October 15. It will also cover the debate between the Vice Presidential candidates, Sen. Joseph Biden, the Democrat, and Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican, on October 2 at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.
Televised debate coverage will be carried in English on all of VOA’s satellite paths – Intelsat 907, New Skies 806 and 703 (VC 340 only), Asiasat 3, and Eutelsat Hot Bird 3 (VC 340 only). Special coverage in Urdu of the presidential debates, but not the vice presidential debate, will air on New Skies 703 (VC 420), Asiasat 3 (VC 409), and Hot Bird 3 (VC 240).
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.