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“Journalists are civilians. We are not targets. We are not combatants. Our pens and our cameras are not weapons of war, but tools of justice. And above all, we are human beings,” – CPJ president Jodie Ginsberg.

My recent visit to Voice of America (VOA) in Washington DC on February 28, 2024 was organized by Go Ghana LLC, a sports and tourism consortium based in the U.S.A. The goal of the tour was to know more of the Voice of America (VOA) Journalist Standards & Practices.

Voice of America (VOA) is the state-owned news network and international radio broadcaster of the United States of America. It is the largest and oldest of the U.S. – funded international broadcasters. It is an independent federal agency overseeing public service media networks that provide unbiased news and information in countries where the press is restricted.

VOA occupies a unique position of trust worldwide as a consistently reliable source of news and information. VOA considers it a duty to provide accurate, balanced, comprehensive and objective news and information to audiences around the world.

The tour started with an in-depth studio visit where I learned about the rich history of VOA and traced its beginnings to 1942 when it was founded as the US Government Agency for Global Media. One interesting fact about Voice of America is that, it is not under the control or supervision of the President. Even though it is fully government funded.

It is controlled by an independent agency. Their declared mission is “to broadcast accurate, balanced, and comprehensive news and information to an international audience. That gives them the power not to be biased in their broadcast.

I also had the opportunity to engage with other journalists as well, and a one-on-one interview with VOA sports journalist Mike Hove, who offered perceptive analysis on the significance of Lionel Messi’s entry into the MLS and the changing face of American football. The impact of Lionel Messi on MLS is a great one as it opens doors for MLS to have great players, he stated. He also made it clear that, football or Soccer is still among the top sports in America.

With the U.S.A government delegation attending the just ended AFCON tournament in Africa, will open more opportunities for Africans to join the USA team. He also emphasized on the importance of getting more attention on the sports than the relegations. Mike elaborated on the closest Sports of Africa which is closest to America is Rugby.

VOA has also honored some Media personnel who gave their lives to protect the truth, including notable figures like Abdul-Hussein Khazal, Georgi Markov, and Leonid Karas, Ricardo de Mello, Abdul-Hussein Khazal, Abdulrachmann Fatalibey, Iskandar Khatloni, Nazzar Abdulwahid Al-Radhi, Ogulsapar Muradowa, Vira Hyryeh, Ali Nur Said, Sabawoon Kakar, Maharram Dumani, Basher Fahmi, Mohammed Ali Nuxurkey and many others whose efforts continue to influence VOA’s journalistic philosophy.

VOA produces digital, TV, and radio content in 49 languages, which it distributes to affiliate stations around the world. Its targeted and primary audience is non-American. As of November 2022, its reporting reached 326 million adults per week across all platforms.

With more than three thousand five hundred (3,500) affiliated radio and television stations, VOA continues to be a pillar of global journalism today. Its dedication to provide accurate, in-depth news analysis is emphasized by its aim to counter disinformation, misinformation and speak up for the voiceless.

The legacy of VOA was emphasized by its dedication to impartial reporting, which was demonstrated by its thorough coverage of major international events and its capacity to win praise from listeners all around the world in addition to the American press. With the addition of music and educational programming, particularly its music programmed that has linked the United States and Africa for decades, and its Special English broadcasts targeted at English language learners worldwide, the new millennium marked a revolutionary period for VOA.

Plans are underway for media internship program in U.S.A. through Go Ghana LLC. The purpose of the Media Program is to gain a new perspective on a different culture, and the opportunity for career exploration and development, and to learn new skills.

VOA is proud of its long and distinguished record of journalistic achievement. Since 1942, in times of war and peace, VOA journalists have upheld the highest standards in their broadcasts to a diverse worldwide audience.

Their determined efforts, sometimes in the face of danger, have helped VOA attract its audience and earn its reputation for excellence.

Source: Kobby Stonne

www.sports24ghana.com