BBG Watch Commentary
The Voice of America (VOA) news report on U.S. President Barack Obama meeting at the White House with Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, who was attacked by the Taliban for her efforts to promote education for girls, was posted late on the VOA English news website, lacked details of the meeting itself, and did not include a White House photo from the meeting used by BBC and other media. The VOA newsroom and the VOA web team were alerted to the White House meeting by a VOA correspondent and given all the information well ahead of time but failed to post a comprehensive and journalistically solid news story.
Also READ: Where Voice of America failed on Malala news story, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty did not, BBG Watch.
As of Saturday 12 Noon Washington D.C. time, the VOA report, Obama Meets Malala Yousafzai, has not been updated and had only 17 Facebook “Likes” with no comments from readers.
There were many more details about the meeting in the White House statement than what VOA included in its report. A photo of the meeting was also available. The Washington Post and other media reported on Malala’s statement after the meeting which was carried by AP. The VOA English website had nothing on Malala’s statement, in which she expressed concerns that U.S. drone attacks are fueling terrorism and innocent victims are killed in these acts. The Washington Post included in its news story the White House photo from the meeting.
VOA did not report on its English news website that the Obama’s 15-year-old daughter Malia also attended the meeting at the White House.
VOA also did not report on its English news website about Malala’s appearance last Tuesday on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.
In recent weeks, the VOA English website failed to report on major human rights-related news stories.
Obama Meets Malala Yousafzai
October 11, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama has met at the White House with Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai, who was attacked by the Taliban for her efforts to promote education for girls.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama met the 16-year-old on Friday, the same day the Nobel committee awarded its Peace Prize.
Malala was seen as a favorite to win the award; however, the prize went to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is currently working to destroy Syria’s arsenal.
The White House says the president wanted to thank Malala for her work on behalf of girls’ education in Pakistan.
Malala was 11 when she became an activist for women’s education, freedom, and self-determination in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, where the Taliban banned women from attending school in 2009.
She began a blog, writing under a pseudonym, and quickly became a prominent voice for women’s rights.
Malala and a classmate were shot while returning home from school in the Swat Valley last year, in an attack that brought her campaign for children’s education to the global forefront.
In an interview Friday with the U.S. Public Broadcasting Service, Malala said she has been given a second life for the cause of education.
On Thursday, Malala won the European Union’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Malala’s new book, I am Malala, was published earlier this week.
Compared to only 17 Facebook “Likes” for the VOA story, the BBC story on the Obama-Malala meeting, Malala Yousafzai meets Obamas at White House, had 1,047 Facebook “Likes” as of 12 Noon Saturday.
The BBC news story included quotes from the White House statement and had a White House photo showing Malia Obama, left, joining her parents at the Oval Office to meet Malala.
“As the First Lady has said, ‘Investing in girls’ education is the very best thing we can do, not just for our daughters and granddaughters, but for their families, their communities, and their countries’,” the White House said in a statement, BBC reported.
BBC also reported that the Obamas thanked Malala, 16, for her “inspiring and passionate work” for girls’ education.
According to the BBC report, “the White House said the US celebrated Malala’s courage and determination to promote girls’ right to attend school.”
Compared to VOA’s report, the BBC report had far more information and substance. The BBC report also included a photo which the White House website posted on the home page as “Photo of the Day.”
It is not difficult to understand why the BBC news report had over 1,000 Facebook “Likes” to 17 Facebook “Likes” for the VOA news story.
Why the Voice of America English news service would not cover in full President Obama’s meeting with Malala and conduct an interview with her afterwards is simply incomprehensible. VOA is not subject to the government shutdown, but its management has been highly dysfunctional for several years.
BBC had a TV interview with Malala on October 7.
The VOA English website also failed to report on Malala’s statement: “I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact,” she said.
The VOA English news website also failed to post a special report as of Saturday morning that the U.S. is reopening landmark tourist sites despite the continuing government shutdown. BBC had a report on this on its home page as one of the top news stories.
It should be pointed out that Voice of America journalists are not at fault here. They are deprived of resources and often prevented from doing their job right by incompetent senior executives. They themselves are victims of VOA and IBB top management, which has created the worst workplace with the lowest employee morale in the entire federal government, according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS).
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