Extremist groups such as ISIL, Boko Haram, and Al Qaeda restrict access to information, instill fear and intimidation among local populations and propagate disinformation. These groups threaten lives and the core U.S. values of freedom and democracy and respect for human rights. For those living under their control, access to credible news and information is more important than ever.
Countering Violent Extremism
Violent extremist groups invest heavily in state-of-the-art misinformation campaigns, sophisticated media production skills and social media engagement to dominate regional discourse and push their own narrative.
Goals and Priorities
Provide accurate, unbiased information. Deliver objective and balanced coverage of breaking political events, human rights, democracy, social issues to people living areas affected by violent extremism. Information will include comprehensive coverage of local, as well as regional and international news.
Engage youth in conversations about factors that motivate them to participate in violent extremism in order to dispel the myths associated with groups that sponsor violent extremism.
Increase access to information -Target growing population of digital media users to take advantage of future growth of mobile broadband. increasing number of television and online media partners in Iraq by expanding the VOA “Washington bureau” role, particularly concerning content that counters ISIL and other anti-Western propaganda in order to counter radicalism and violent extremism that undermines U.S. national security interests in the region.
Special Programming and Initiatives
Raise Your Voice
In 2015, MBN launched a multi-platform campaign, Raise Your Voice, to encourage Iraqi citizens to speak out and address extremism and the underlying causes of terrorism. Through new radio and television programs and digital properties, the campaign provides forums for activists, youth and others to share their ideas on topics such as sectarian relationships, religious freedom, and freedom of expression.
Alhurra-Iraq launched three new television programs that highlight the causes of violent extremism, showcase local acts of heroism in confronting these challenges, and offer a view from Northern Iraq on the local challenges they are confronting.
Alhurra’s new program Delusional Paradise offers powerful personal testimonies that reveal the realities of life in ISIL territory and the pain and suffering ISIL inflicts on families and communities.
A new Radio Sawa program serves as a platform to discuss and debate the effects of terrorism, extremism, and intolerance, and it invites listeners to call in and engage with hosts, guests and each other. The hour-long daily show averages approximately fifteen calls per show from throughout Iraq, as well as SMS messages.
The Raise Your Voice website and social media properties host weekly themes that address the underlying issues that lead to extremism, such as unemployment, religious intolerance, and lack of rights for women and minorities. They serve as a primary forum where readers can express their opinions and engage in discussions on topics that directly impact them. In less than six months since its launch, the Raise Your Voice Facebook page attracted more than 600,000 followers, received nearly 115,000 comments, and registered more than three million likes for content posted. In addition, the Facebook page has recorded over 13 million video views.
Extremism Watch Desk
In 2015, Voice of America established the Extremism Watch Desk to curate vernacular content from VOA language services and BBG entities focused on ISIL and its activities. The best of that content is translated into English, video is added when available, and it is shared with the BBG networks.
ISIL/Taliban in Afghanistan
RFE/RL’s Afghan Service has covered the emergence of ISIL in Afghanistan from its beginning, and Radio Azadi’s correspondent in the eastern province of Nangarhar reports from the front lines of the fight against the terrorist group. In September, as the Taliban seized the northern city of Kunduz, Radio Azadi provided breaking news reports, analysis of the implications of the city’s seizure, and reactions from residents. The Service provided first-hand accounts from witnesses who survived the harrowing ordeal, including Sediqa Sherzai, the founder and director of a women-run TV and radio station that was one of the extremist group’s primary targets.
Boko Haram and Al Shabaab
Africa’s extremist groups have destabilized major African states, including parts of Nigeria, Mali and Somalia, and the BBG provides audiences in these countries accurate, unbiased news and information. VOA launched a series of fast-paced youth oriented shows in 2015: Taskar VOA, a 15-minute weekly television program; and Yao Da Gobe (Today and Tomorrow), a 30-minute daily youth radio program, both in Hausa; as well as Dhalinyarada Maanta (“Today’s Youth”) in Somali. In addition, VOA’s Horn of Africa service launched Gabina VOA, a radio show that offers young people a platform to speak out about their concerns.
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- Yemen (83)
- Egypt (77)
- Chad (74)
- Iraq (71)
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- Afghanistan (62)
- Nigeria (51)
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