Local and International Reaction to the Death of Osama bin Laden from U.S. International Broadcasting

U.S. international broadcasting is providing extensive local coverage of the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, commentary and analysis from the United States, and reaction to the news from around the world.

“The BBG’s multi-lingual broadcasts are presenting original on-the-ground reporting, unique insights and worldwide reactions,” said Walter Isaacson, Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors that oversees all U.S. international broadcasting. “Our programs provide context, depth and clarity as news of this pivotal event reverberates with our audiences in Pakistan and beyond.”

Local coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden included:

* Ihsan Muhammad Khan, of Voice of America’s (VOA) Pashto-language Deewa Radio, reported from Abbottabad (the location of bin Laden’s compound) that a helicopter had crashed north of the city in Kakul, and that locals were hearing heavy fire and blasts. By 11 p.m. EST Deewa broke the story to its audience in Pakistan.

* VOA Urdu broadcast from Islamabad the news of the death, President Obama’s speech with Urdu translation, and reaction from former President George W. Bush. Reports included the first Pakistan government official statements.

* While much of the world celebrated the news of the death of bin Laden, VOA reported a sense of stunned silence in Pakistan, where U.S. forces found and killed bin Laden.

* With seasoned journalists already on the ground in Abbottabad, Islamabad and Kabul, Radio Free Europe’s (RFE) Radio Azadi and Radio Mashaal provided more than 21 combined hours of special coverage and breaking news.

* RFE reported several vox populi interviews and comments from the area surrounding Abbottabad, adding the unique and compelling perspective of those who lived daily in the shadow of bin Laden.

Reaction from around the globe:

* VOA’s Persian News Network broadcast live a special edition of Tonight’s News on the death of bin Laden, including a full report on the events in Pakistan.

* Alhurra’s TV news magazine Al Youm, broadcast via satellite to an estimated audience of approximately 26 million in the Middle East, covered reaction from Dubai, Cairo, Jerusalem and Beirut, and reactions from victims of terrorist attacks in Jordan, Afghanistan and Morocco.

* Radio Sawa broadcast reports in Arabic to many countries in the Middle East from U.S. officials who stated that the U.S. would handle bin Laden’s remains in accordance with Islamic practice.

* In Indonesia, home to the largest Muslim population in the world, many have voiced support in VOA interviews for the U.S. action that killed Osama bin Laden, but there is concern that radical groups will seek retaliation.

Comments/Reactions from the U.S.:

* BBG networks President Obama’s speech broadcast live in English with simultaneous translations provided in Arabic, Pashto, Turkish, Urdu and other languages.

* Alhurra reported on the statements by family members of those who were killed on Sept. 11.

* BBG networks, including Radio Free Asia, broadcast reactions at spontaneous gatherings at Ground Zero in New York City and at the White House in Washington.

* VOA reported that bin Laden’s death has sparked a moment of national catharsis in the U.S. and also presents a rare opportunity for national unity in the wake of a long and divisive political debate over how the U.S. should wage the war on terrorism.

More information about media availability of experts from the BBG broadcast networks is available here.

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