08 August 2008

News Blog Vacation & Call for Comments

The News Blog is going to take a break for the next two weeks. During that time, we hope more of our many readers (and there have been over 60,000 of you from 159 countries since January) will join the few who have so far ventured comments on our posts.

We’d be especially interested in your views on what happens when the Great Internet Firewall of China is lifted and what that means about the peoples’ desire for free access to news and information.

Our Mandarin site is, by the way, currently running a poll asking whether readers think China will leave VOANews.com and other web sites open after the Olympics. As of this morning (Washington time), 80% of those responding believe the answer is no. (China is in the top 10 countries sending visitors to the News Blog, along with Iran and Russia as well as Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. For the record, the top European country sending visitors is Great Britain, Brazil is tops in South/Central America, Pakistan in Southwest Asia and South Africa for Africa.)

In the meantime, consider these comments on some of the features appearing on our main website.

Shafiq wrote us about VOA’s new Urdu (and English) TV production called “Muslims’ America.”

“Happen to watch your programme Muslims America which is a real eye opening and an informative serial. Admiration for the team for their hard work and research efforts. These sorts of series are the real time requirement for the Muslims of the world. The start was good and I hope it will continue with the same pace till its conclusion. Once again appreciations for the team.”

Then there were two comments about our efforts to explore the question of whether the United States is ready to elect a black President. (See this item.)

The first comment:

“The author missed the other side of the equation; which is that most blacks will vote for Mr. Obama just because he is black. I think it is sad commentary for any white or black to vote solely on the basis of skin color!"

Actually, had this writer waited a bit, he would have seen a second item examining African-American voter sentiment.

The other email on this question of whether America is ready for a black President:

“The topic of the piece today is laughable, at this point. I might expect a high school essay getting handed in on it but really, VOA? Sen. Obama…has been overwhelmingly accepted as a viable, engaging, credible presidential candidate. Write about the person, defined in terms pertinent to what they are trying to become.”

We want to draw your attention to a third item in this series which looks at the history of race and politics in the United States. It concludes that while many Americans may be ready to elect a black president, others aren’t so sure.

So, off on our break. Send in those comments. And we look forward to going through them on our return. Thanks.

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