WASHINGTON, D.C. — As voters in Mali cast their ballots on Sunday, July 28, Voice of America will carry two special election day broadcasts, with reports from polling stations around the country and analysis from studio guests.
The 30-minute Bambara language radio show Mali Kura (in English, New Mali), will air live at noon on Sunday and a second live half-hour program will be added in the evening. The programs will include reports from VOA journalists in Gao, Timbuktu, Bamako and other cities.
“The elections in Mali, which were postponed for over a year after the March 2012 military coup, represent a critical rebuilding stage for the country,” says VOA Africa Division Director Gwen Dillard. “We want to provide our audiences with accurate up-to-the-minute news on how the election is unfolding, as well as practical information on voting and the electoral process.”
VOA French to Africa reporter Bagassi Koura, who arrived in Mali this week, will also be providing firsthand observations on the mood of the country as he travels to polling stations and speaks with ordinary people about their views on the vote. His on-scene reports will be posted on a special blog on the VOA website, which also includes reporting from correspondent Anne Look.
In the run up to Sunday’s vote, Mali Kura has aired interviews with eight presidential candidates, along with reports on the mechanics of the process, preparations for the vote, and the impact women and young people are having on the election. The program has also featured segments on the electronic voting cards being used for the first time in an effort to ensure the election is fair.
Mali Kura airs Monday through Friday in Mali and is available on VOA’s 24/7 FM frequency in Bamako, as well as on affiliate stations, shortwave radio, the Internet and mobile platforms.
VOA began broadcasting in Bambara, a language spoken by over two-million people in Mali and Burkina Faso, in March of this year. VOA also broadcasts to Mali in French and has been providing special election updates on its mobile service in the Songhai language.