VOA Tibetan Service Celebrates 20th Anniversary of First Broadcast

The Voice of America’s Tibetan Service, which began with a 15 minute shortwave radio broadcast on March 25, 1991, is being hailed today as one of the most influential Tibetan language multi-media platforms in the world.

Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, once noted that, “Tibetans call VOA broadcasts their medicine for depression and exhaustion, and on days that they don’t get to hear it, they say they’ve missed their vital medicine.”

Earlier this month the service hosted a televised debate with the three candidates vying to become Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa) of the exiled Central Tibetan Administration based in Dharamsala, India. 

VOA Director Danforth W. Austin called the satellite and web-streamed broadcast a “a prime example of how VOA’s Tibetan Service is able to share important events with an audience that is cut off from the free flow of objective and comprehensive news.

VOA’s Tibetan Service produces two hours of original television programming each week, and 42 hours of radio.  The programs are broadcast on shortwave, transmitted via satellite and streamed on the service’s website, www.voanews.com/tibetan/news.

The Voice of America has also undertaken a number of initiatives to make the broadcasts accessible to Tibetans through a variety of social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, and with ongoing strategies to combat jamming and Internet restrictions imposed by the Chinese government.

The VOA Tibetan Service was created by an Act of Congress signed into law on February 16, 1990 to established “a service to provide Voice of America Tibetan language programming to the people of Tibet.”

VOA’s parent organization, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, marked the anniversary with a resolution calling the Tibetan Service broadcasts, “as vital to the people of Tibet today as when the Service’s first daily 15-minute shortwave broadcast debuted to the Tibetan plateau 20 years ago.’’

For more information about the Voice of America or any of its 44 language services, visit our website at www.voanews.com.

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