RFE/RL & VOA to expand reach into Afghanistan-Pakistan border region

Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) will receive additional resources to expand critical radio broadcasts to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region as part of the $106 billion emergency war bill signed today.

With the exception of VOA’s Radio Deewa, little independent news and information is available in the volatile border region. Extremist radio stations have proliferated in recent months, and the new programs will bolster current US efforts to provide an alternative source of independent news and information to the Pashto speaking people in Pakistan. The expanded programming of Radio Deewa, and new programming from RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi, will feature a wide range of news, political, and cultural programs with call-in shows and content geared toward women and youth. Programmes will be distributed via shortwave, FM and the Internet.

“Radio is a powerful medium. Extremists encouraging violence understand this,” said D Jeffrey Hirschberg, of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) which oversees both VOA and RFE/RL. “Our broadcasts are an antidote to such extremism and we are grateful for the opportunity to expand our programmes. They will be central to providing an alternate view, one based on accuracy and balance, which is generally absent from local media.”