See updates below – In the next few days the transmission lines that allow Canada to broadcast to the world will be taken down one by one. For more than 67 years Radio Canada International’s shortwave transmitters have guaranteed that Canada’s voice would be heard despite the Cold War, despite natural disasters, and Internet blocking. Now this efficient, cost effective communications tool will be dismantled by Canada’s public broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada.
Those of us who understand how important this lifeline to the world is to world communication are sick to our stomachs at the rapidity with which the broadcaster wants to make the transmitters disappear. Shortwave broadcasts of Radio Canada International ended on June 24, 2012. Other countries’ use of our transmitters will end on October 31.
But CBC/Radio-Canada has already started the process of dismantling unused transmitters, and will start taking down still functioning transmission lines very shortly.
Why are they in such a hurry?
CBC/Radio-Canada has never understood the importance of international broadcasting, and is betting that Canadians will ignore the fact that a web-only service has limited impact while shortwave radio can reach more than 800 million radio receivers around the world.
The short sightedness of administrators obsessed with web page clicks fails to take into account that shortwave not only transmits radio broadcasts, but has been used for teletype and data transmission. Recent experiments reveal that with free software, shortwave signals could transmit texts where the Internet is not available. A tool that once again would get past Internet blocking, natural disasters, and wars.
The transmitters are there, they don’t cost much to maintain. Why do we want to cut ourselves off from being able to communicate with the world? Who should be making these decisions?
Please contact Canada’s Heritage Minister James Moore firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him to stop CBC/Radio-Canada from dismantling our transmitters.
And please send us any suggestions you may have email@example.com
UPDATE: October 23, 2012 – Five transmission lines have already been taken down! Two are in the process of being dismantled. By next week almost all of the 28 lines will be dismantled. Only two will remain temporarily for the Quebec Northern Service.
UPDATE: later on October 23, 2012 – U.S. listener Thomas Witherspoon has started a petition to stop the dismantling of Sackville. See the post on our website, the petition is here http://tinyurl.com/sackvillepetition