MONTREAL, June 20, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - More than a hundred people
demonstrated in front of the Radio-Canada-CBC building in Montreal
today at noon in solidarity with the RCI Action Committee, a
union-supported lobby of Radio Canada International employees. At the
rally the Committee called on the federal government to stop the budget
cuts at the international service, and to give RCI financial autonomy
On April 4, 2012, Radio-Canada-CBC announced RCI's budget would be cut
by 80%, dropping from $12.3 million to $2.3 million. The newsroom will
be closed down. RCI, Canada's Voice to the World for the past 67 years,
will stop being a radio broadcaster both on shortwave and by satellite
on June 24. This decision was retroactively approved by Canadian
Heritage Minister James Moore on June 7, when he changed the 2003 Order
in Council and removed Radio-Canada-CBC's obligation to provide RCI's
programming on shortwave, and to consult the ministry of Foreign
Affairs about geographic target areas and broadcast languages.
Listeners cut off from Canada
In ending RCI's role as a radio broadcaster and limiting its presence to
the Internet, millions of listeners will be cut off from uncensored
news from Canada. This is because of limited access to the Internet, or
as in the case of Chinese listeners, because the RCI website is blocked
by Chinese authorities. In the case of China, however, the shortwave
radio broadcasts are not jammed by the authorities. Minister Moore's
decision now effectively does that for them. Many of Canada's important
economic partners such as India, Russia and Brazil will also lose
access to Canadian news because the services have been closed, or in
the case of India, access to the Internet is limited. In addition, the
Minister's decision to eliminate the need for consultations with
Foreign Affairs opens the door to more slashing of the service such as
those to Ukraine, Russia and Brazil.
Enormous loss of expertise
RCI Action Committee spokesperson Wojtek Gwiazda, a host and producer at
Radio Canada International, says the federal government must step in
and stop the drastic cuts to Radio Canada International, "We think it
should be Canada's Parliament and not Radio-Canada-CBC that decides the
strength or weakness of RCI. Even if we know the government does not
want to get involved in the internal functioning of the
Radio-Canada-CBC, we feel that the Corporation failed to meet its
obligations under the Broadcasting Act."
For SCRC president Alex Levasseur, "Canada's voice to the world is
unique not because it broadcasts in different languages, but because it
explains Canada to the rest of the world in these different languages.
Our contextualized programming for people who may know little about
Canada helps trade, tourism and immigration. And RCI's tradition of
journalistic integrity has received worldwide respect and appreciation
for 67 years."
For more information, visit www.rciaction.org/blog
The SCRC represents almost 1800 members in Quebec and Moncton, and is
affiliated with the Fédération nationale des communications of the CSN.
For further information:
Noémi Desrochers, Service des communications de la CSN
Cell: 514 216-1825 ; Office: 514 598-2162.
Source : Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada (SCRC) FNC-CSN