BBG Watch Commentary

According to U.S. taxpayer-funded ($224 M, FY 2017) Voice of America (VOA) internal email, the three cities with the largest, but still dismally small number of weekly visitors to VOA’s premier English news website,, are:




These are capital cities of countries with democratic governments and vibrant free media. According to VOA’s internal email, “the biggest consumers of our videos [English] are in Japan,” a country not exactly deprived of free media.

Where are: Beijing, Moscow, Teheran, Baghdad, Islamabad, Kabul, Pyongyang, Caracas, Havana?

Some of the countries block Voice of America and other Western websites, but Russia, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and many other countries still without free, objective or fully functioning media do not block access to Voice of America websites.

These countries are not on the VOA’s ten top cities list for web visits.

Weekly visits to most of VOA’s foreign language websites, with a few exceptions, are also reported to be dismally small.

So much for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) mission “to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy” with digital outreach.

According to the Voice of America internal email, Ho Chi Minh, Lagos, and Hanoi are in the fourth, sixth, and seventh place for weekly visits to VOA English news website, but also with dismally small numbers: Ho Chi Minh (1000), Lagos (814), Hanoi (779).

Even these numbers may be skewed because the Voice of America is known to use paid (by U.S. taxpayers) advertising to drive online traffic to its websites and social media pages. South East Asia, including Vietnam, is also known for hosting many so-called “click farms,” which produce web traffic for money.

Washington is sixth on the list with only 627 weekly visitors to the VOA English News website in a city full of political news junkies. This shows how irrelevant VOA has become in Washington under [mis]management of the Broadcasting Board of Governors — the federal agency which then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described in 2013 as “practically defunct.”

If BBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times or any other major private or public news organization had only 627 weekly visits to its news website in Washington, DC, their management would be long gone.

BBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and even Russia’s RT have multiple times more daily, weekly, and monthly visitors to their websites than the Voice of America.

Let’s put these VOA paltry numbers in context:

A global population of over 7-BILLION.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors has several thousand employees in the Washington area. What the dismal number of 627 weekly visits from Washington to the website also suggests is that employee morale under the current BBG and VOA leadership is dismally low.

VOA managers and journalists don’t even bother to check from home on their own news in any great numbers.

Indeed, a Washington Post commentator described the Broadcasting Board of Governors as regular bottom-feeder on employee morale, employee engagement, and leadership, according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Surveys (FEVS).

We commented repeatedly on the fact that VOA and BBG executives are not looking at VOA websites, and if they do, they can’t spot glaring problems.

SEE THE LATEST: Is Voice of America ashamed of Huma Abedin’s heritage or simply sloppy?, BBG Watch, November 7, 2016.


ALSO SEE: 45% of visits to Voice of America English website are from the U.S. – EXCLUSIVE, BBG Watch, October 4, 2016.

Internal Voice of America E-Mail, Friday, November 4, 2016

Most weekly visits to VOA English News website by city (all stories):

1. Tokyo 1,776

2. Paris 1,474

3. Seoul 1,272

4. Ho Chi Minh 1,000

5. Lagos 814

6. Hanoi 779

7. Washington 627

8. Taipei 612

9. Osaka 454

10. Nairobi 419


1 comment
  1. This is a revealing piece by BBG Watch, which serves
    to help peel some of the clothes off the emperor — namely
    VOA, as well as the BBG.

    We have long suspected that VOA has become largely invisible,
    regardless of the happy talk that arrives in the form of audience
    claims made by what passes as management in this agency.

    Put simply — why does this agency exist if it isn’t actually
    obtaining a much better level of online impact on a day to day

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