Audiences around the world turned to U.S. Agency for Global Media networks as Joe Biden was sworn in as America’s 46th president and Kamala Harris as the first female U.S. vice president.
On Inauguration Day, visits to Voice of America’s websites increased by nearly 33 percent, totaling 1.85 million visits. That is 457,000 more web visits to VOA than the daily average for the past month.
VOA’s coverage included looking at Biden’s pledges of unity and other proposals in his January 20 inaugural address and world leaders’ reactions from Europe to Latin America. The network also created an interactive graphic comparing previous inaugural speeches starting with George Washington. VOA was also on the scene to interview a few spectators who were lined up along the streets of Washington, trying to get a glimpse of the action. The crowd was sparse this year, as people were told to watch the ceremony safely at home because of COVID-19.
Other USAGM networks likewise covered the inauguration. Current Time provided a live broadcast of the U.S. presidential inauguration. The broadcast, with Russian translation, included a discussion of the day’s events with experts. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty looked at how the tightly controlled Turkmen media failed to mention the Biden inauguration.
Radio Television Martí likewise covered the inaugural speech for its audience in Cuba, as did the Arabic-language organization Middle East Broadcasting Network’s Arabic. Alhurra TV had more than 15 hours of live coverage of Inauguration Day events, including the swearing-in ceremony for President Biden and Vice President Harris. Sawa Radio broadcast more than 11 hours of live coverage of the inauguration. Alhurra and Sawa both hosted American experts to provide analysis and insights, as well as international reaction from the region. MBN also provided explainers of what happens on Inauguration Day and information about the White House, Congress and an augmented reality feature describing Air Force One.