BBG Watch Commentary

VOA ReportThis is a perfect example of how bland Voice of America (VOA) English News has become.

A video and text report posted on the VOA English website on New Year’s celebrations around the world makes absolutely no mention of two major political New Year’s celebrations by hundreds of thousands of pro-freedom demonstrators in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and in Turkey’s largest city Istanbul while mentioning an official celebration by Chinese communist leaders.

One is a country resisting President Putin’s imperial ambitions and trying to remain in Europe and in the West. The other is a secular Islamic country trying to remain secular and democratic.

VOA News also did not report on a special New Year’s video message for Ukraine from a famous American musician Quincy Jones.

See: New Year’s Message for Ukraine from Quincy Jones — New Year’s Demonstration in Turkey — But Nothing From Voice of America, BBG Watch.

The only reference to what was happening in Ukraine was not in the VOA video or the text report itself but in one photo and a photo caption in a photo gallery from news agencies posted at the end of the report.

Russia’s state international media outlet RT (Russia Today) did report on the New Year’s Eve celebration by Ukrainian protesters in Kyiv, albeit with not too much detail.

There was nothing on the VOA English website on the New Year’s celebration by pro-freedom protesters in Turkey.

But the VOA report, for some strange reason, showed briefly Chinese communist leaders welcoming the New Year during an official celebration in Beijing. It also showed other celebrations in China.

Why VOA English News did not report on celebrations by protesters in Kyiv and Istanbul is a mystery to us, considering VOA’s news mission.

This is what was posted on the VOA English website.

New Year Celebrated Around the World

Link to VOA video.

VOA News
January 01, 2014

Major cities across the world celebrated the beginning of 2014 with fireworks and music, ringing in the new year with record setting celebrations and good spirit.

About a million New York City revelers braved frigid temperatures and high security, waiting hours in Times Square for a giant Waterford crystal ball to drop at the stroke of midnight.

With neither the current nor the incoming New York City mayor present to push the button to start the ball drop, the honors were performed by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a New York native.

The city of Nashville, Tennessee dropped a giant music note at midnight, while the city of Vincennes, Indiana dropped 14 watermelons in tribute to 2014. From space, the crew of the International Space Station — two Americans and a Japanese crew member — sent their greetings to Times Square and the rest of the world via a video from NASA.

In Pasadena, California, people celebrated the stroke of midnight while camped out on the street along the route for the annual Rose Parade. The parade is followed Wednesday by the Rose Bowl, one of several post-season college football games played on New Year.

Elsewhere, crowds gathered in public spaces around the world to ring in the new year, massing in Moscow, Dubai, London, New York and other major cities ahead of their midnight celebrations.

London’s partiers were treated to edible banana-flavored confetti as they watched fireworks over Trafalgar Square.

Dubai created what it called the world’s fireworks show, igniting 400,000 fireworks that aimed to set a new world record, besting last year’s record of 77,000 in Kuwait.

Fireworks erupted from Auckland’s Sky Tower as people danced in the streets of New Zealand’s biggest city.

In Sydney, Australia, more than a million people watched fireworks launched for the first time in more than a decade from the sails of the city’s famed waterfront opera house. Billowing fireworks soared over Hong Kong’s skyscrapers.

In Japan, some celebrated by eating noodles and seafood — thought to bring good luck in 2014 — and offering prayers at Buddhist shrines and temples.

Celebrations were somewhat muted in the Philippines, where officials say about 260 people were injured by fireworks or stray bullets in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve.

The mood also was somber in areas still recovering from Haiyan, a November typhoon that killed thousands of people.

Cape Town, South Africa, had a particularly poignant celebration, which included a tribute to anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, who died December 5.

The VOA website did post a report from Reuters on January 1 that thousands marched in Hong Kong at the annual New Year’s Day democracy rally. But that was January 1. The VOA New Year’s video and report did not mention that such a rally was planned in Hong Kong. But it showed communist leaders in Beijing. I guess VOA thought that people celebrating New Year around the world wanted to see these leaders rather than pro-democracy demonstrators in Kyiv and Istanbul.