After 80% budget cut, Radio Canada International will have no radio, no news.

Posted: 12 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
Montreal Gazette, 11 Apr 2012, Catherine Solyom: "While CBC, like other crown corporations and government departments, has to cut 10 per cent of its overall budget as a result of federal cutbacks, [Radio Canada International], which is administered by the CBC but has long been its poor cousin, was told more than 80 per cent of its budget would be slashed, or $10 million of $12.3 million. As of June 25, there will no longer be any Russian or Portuguese language sections, there will be no more RCI newsroom, no more RCI programs, in fact, no more shortwave or satellite broadcasting at all, other than to direct listeners to the Internet, the CBC decided last week. RCI will retain a 'Web presence' in five languages – but what kind of presence remains to be seen. The news was a severe blow to the staff at RCI, at least two-thirds – or about 40 – of whom can expect to receive pink slips April 25. ... Sheldon Harvey, the president of the Canadian International DX Club, and a longtime shortwave enthusiast, said the international service, over the decades, has gained a stellar reputation, ranked just behind the BBC World Service – despite its relatively tiny budget – for its balanced, neutral perspective. It was never a propaganda tool, like the Voice of America, he said." -- As a "longtime shortwave enthusiast," Sheldon could have come up with a more appropriate example of "propaganda tool."

Montreal Gazette, 12 Apr 2012, letter from Dan Malloy, Everett, Massachusetts: "Contrary to what many Canadians may believe, there are Americans who don't believe that Canada is a northern version of the U.S.A., and shortwave radio is an excellent way to get that message across."

CBC, 4 Apr 2012, speech to employee town hall meeting by CBC CEO Hubert T. Lacroix: RCI "will now provide national and international audiences with content on the web in five languages (French, English, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin). The Brazilian and Russian sections will close. This transformation responds to demographic shifts, to the traffic on our sites, and concentrates our efforts on Canada's largest communities of diverse origins, while continuing to offer an international service via the web. These decisions are consistent with international trends and approaches adopted by other public broadcasters."

Radio Canada International, Off Mike column, 7 Apr 2012, Wojtek Gwiazda: "We will no longer broadcast on shortwave. The only presence we’ll have is on the Internet, on our website. The RCI newsroom will be closed, there will be no newscasts. ... I can tell you that there is a union supported lobby group, the RCI Action Committee, which is actively lobbying to stop the cuts. Whether it will be successful, is unknown."

RCI Action Committee blog, 4 Apr 2012: "Radio Canada International’s $12.2 million dollar budget will be slashed by 10 million, leaving only $2.2 million. (Revised April 5: $12.3 and $2.3 million) ... It’s being billed as a 'transformation' – I think we would use other words. ... Suggestions, comments, questions welcome at: rciaction@yahoo.ca . We are working on an action plan – should be able to provide details within a few days." See also ibid. on 8 Apr 2012 (CKUT interview, with audio).

RCI Action Committee blog, 12 Apr 2012: "We feel because of the continuing cuts to RCI since 1990 (See: http://rciaction.org/blog), the government should give RCI financial autonomy and take RCI’s budget away from CBC/Radio-Canada’s control." Ibid, 12 Apr 2012: "It is CBC/Radio-Canada, not Canada’s federal government, that so severely cut the budget and services of Radio Canada International. But it is the government that can step in, stop the cut, and protect RCI."

@sandragagnon, 10 Apr 2012: "Écoutez l'émotion de la directrice @Hélène Parent RCI // Budget amputé de 80% à Radio Canada International http://j.mp/HCmnDj"

See also BBG Strategy, 9 Apr 2012, with video clips.

See previous post about same subject.