Every four years the eyes of the world focus on political life in America and the battle for the White House. As Election Day nears, the Broadcasting Board of Governors is bringing information on civics and democracy to its overseas audience in support of its mission to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.
Our broadcasters have worked to bring comprehensive coverage of America’s political process to millions worldwide, and to bring an example of the exercise of democracy to international audiences. A few program highlights follow.
TV Martí broadcast the final debate between President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney live to Cubans living on the island. TV Martí also assembled a panel of Cuban experts from the island and South Florida who spoke on the impact of the presidential debate and analyzed some of the key issues.
Alhurra broadcast the debate live with simultaneous translation. In addition, an Alhurra correspondent interviewed a group of Arab-Americans following the final U.S. presidential debate, to ask about their views and thoughts on the issues discussed.
RFE/RL has been following the election closely and has produced news and analysis stories on all four debates. RFE/RL also sent a Washington correspondent to a neighborhood bar in Steubenville, Ohio, to report on how people there reacted to and perceived the first debate in the critical swing state.
RFA’s Mandarin call-in show has facilitated discussion of the debate through comments from their Chinese audience. One commented on RFA’s Facebook that she was amazed to know that Americans could tune in to heated debates while sitting comfortably in their living rooms. “That’s real power to the people,” she said.
Voice of America has been covering the debates across its language services, with a diverse blend of programming including, for example:
• The Mandarin Service Beijing correspondent invited two Chinese intellectuals to watch the foreign policy debate on October 22. Both guests then appeared on VOA Weishi to discuss their impression of the U.S. presidential debate.
• VOA Persian’s main talk show, Horizon, broadcast live from all of the debate sites, including the one in Boca Raton, and provided follow-up analysis with experts.
• VOA Russian provided a live, simultaneously translated feed of the last presidential debate, which was fed live via satellite and as video stream on the VOA Russian website. Several posts of the U.S. Department of State in the region used VOA Russian’s feed in their own outreach efforts.
In addition to these broadcasts, journalists across the BBG have also been live blogging the debates, as well as facilitating conversations across Facebook, Twitter and other social media.