BBG broadcasters provided extensive coverage of the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly, broadcasting President Obama’s first-ever speech before the body, and following many other heads of state who attended the meetings in New York City in late September.
Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa carried President Obama’s speech live with simultaneous translation, along with those of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. VOA also ran Obama’s speech live on TV, radio and online.
Many language services broke news in interviews with visiting world leaders. VOA’s language services conducted interviews with, among many others, Bosnian President Zelko Komsic, who told the Bosnian Service, “Successful reforms and processes in Bosnia and the other Balkan countries could not happen without strong US engagement,” and Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, who downplayed devaluation of the national currency in an interview with the Albanian Service that was covered by Reuters and picked up by domestic media.
Broadcasters connected the content of addresses with analyses of ongoing issues. For example, RFE/RL had devoted several reports in September to the growing tensions between Uzbekistan and its neighbors Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan over hydropower stations that Uzbek ecologists have denounced as catastrophic for the environment. The Uzbek Foreign Minister reiterated the charge at the UN.
VOA’s Persian News Network and RFE/RL’s Radio Farda reported on demonstrations outside the UN against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The founder of the group Cycling for Human Rights, one of the groups that demonstrated, told Radio Farda that “the aim in going to New York is not to interrupt Ahmadinejad’s speech” but to take advantage of “a very good opportunity to let the world know about the poor condition of human rights in Iran.”
VOA Burmese reporters staked out the hotel where the Burmese delegation was staying and where demonstrators were protesting. VOA exclusive video coverage of protestors throwing shoes, coffee and eggs at the motorcade of Prime Minister Thien Sein and Foreign Minister Nyan Win was widely picked up online.
For their audiences in the Middle East, Radio Sawa and Alhurra TV had extensive reports on the trilateral meeting between President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and what it portends for the future of peace negotiations.