D’anciens ambassadeurs canadiens qualifient d’erreur les changements apportés à RCI

Dans une lettre ouverte publiée le 18 mars 2021, 45 anciens ambassadeurs canadiens ont qualifié les modifications prévues au mandat international de Radio Canada International (RCI) d’erreur.

«En tant que diplomates qui ont servi le Canada partout dans le monde, nous savons qu’il est avantageux pour notre pays que des auditoires étrangers connaissent le Canada.» Les anciens ambassadeurs ont appelé à l’arrêt d’une nouvelle politique de Radio-Canada/CBC, qui détourne l’attention du service international de la programmation destinée aux auditoires internationaux.

La lettre ouverte a été envoyée au premier ministre Justin Trudeau, à la vice-première ministre Chrystia Freeland, au ministre des Affaires étrangères Marc Garneau et au ministre du Patrimoine canadien Steven Guilbeault, et elle les appelle à appuyer un appel pour convoquer une évaluation indépendante de la meilleure façon dont RCI pourrait au mieux poursuivre son mandat essentiel, aet le faire avec une forme d’autonomie financière et éditoriale.

Pour plus d’information veuillez contacter Wojtek Gwiazda, porte-parole, Comité d’action de RCI, wojtekrciaction@gmail.com

Si vous souhaitez nous aider, veuillez consulter cette page:

Comment vous pouvez nous aider – What you can do

http://rciaction.org/blog/what-you-can-do/

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Lettre ouverte des ambassadeurs

En tant que diplomates ayant servi le Canada à titre d’ambassadeurs, de hauts-commissaires et de consuls généraux, nous tenons à exprimer notre appui au personnel du service international du Radio Canada International, dans leur campagne visant à maintenir l’accent du service sur la programmation destinée à des auditoires externes.

En tant que diplomates qui ont servi le Canada partout dans le monde, nous savons qu’il est avantageux pour notre pays que des auditoires étrangers connaissent le Canada. Nous sommes également convaincus qu’il est de notre responsabilité, en tant que nation, de fournir une source fiable de nouvelles et d’information.

Malgré la présentation d’une lettre ouverte signée par l’ancien premier ministre Joe Clark, l’ancien ambassadeur du Canada à l’ONU, Stephen Lewis, l’ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères Lloyd Axworthy, d’anciens diplomates, des spécialistes des affaires étrangères et autres, Radio-Canada/CBC semble déterminé à mettre en œuvre sa nouvelle politique pour RCI à partir du 1er avril.

Nous croyons que réduire le mandat essentiel de RCI, qui consiste à offrir une programmation à un auditoire mondial, constitue une erreur. Il est vrai qu’Internet donne désormais accès à de nombreuses sources d’information canadiennes, y compris Radio-Canada/CBC, mais le caractère unique de RCI réside dans son expérience qui lui permet d’expliquer la réalité canadienne à des auditoires étrangers ne connaissant pas ou peu le Canada et sa réalité.

Ainsi, nous demandons au gouvernement d’intervenir et de bloquer la nouvelle politique de Radio-Canada/CBC. Nous appuyons également l’appel du Comité d’action de RCI de convoquer une évaluation indépendante pour déterminer la façon dont Radio Canada International pourrait au mieux poursuivre sa mission internationale, reconstruire sa capacité de remplir son mandat essentiel, et le faire avec une forme d’autonomie financière et éditoriale.

Signataires :

Brian Baker, former Ambassador

Gaston Barban, Board Director, AMBCANADA – Canadian Ambassadors Alumni Association;  former High Commissioner of Canada to South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and  Mauritius, and Ambassador to Madagascar

L Michael Berry, former Ambassador

Jean-Pierre Bolduc, Ancien haut-commissaire et ambassadeur du Canada en Afrique

Denis Briand, Ambassadeur: l’une en Guinée et l’autre au Burkina Fasso en plus d’avoir été Haut Commissaire en Sierra Leone pendant que j’étais en Guinée

Phil Calvert, former Ambassador

Keith H. Christie, former Ambassador of Canada to Mexico and Cuba

Nick Coghlan, former Ambassador & Consul General

Terry Colfer, former Ambassador

Abina M. Dann, Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine 2005 – 2008, Consul-General to Sao Paulo Brazil – 2008 – 2012

Robert Dery, former Consul General of Canada in Minneapolis

Jean-Yves Dionne, Délégué commercial et ancien Consul général du Canada à Rio de Janeiro

James Elliott, former Trade Commissioner and Consul General

Otch von Finckenstein, former Ambassador

Paul Frazer, former Canadian Ambassador and Official Spokesperson

Réjean Frenette, ancien Ambassadeur du Canada

Émile Gauvreau, ancien Ambassadeur

Jacques Gignac, ancien Ambassadeur du Canada

John W. Graham, former High Commissioner and Ambassador

Marius Grinius, former Ambassador of Canada, Vietnam, North and South Korea, UN Geneva

Sam Hanson, former Ambassador

Nick Hare, former Ambassador

Ernest Hébert, ancien Ambassadeur

Kathryn Hewlett-Jobes, former High Commissioner to Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize

John T. Holmes, former Ambassador

Jean-Paul Hubert, ambassadeur á la retraite

Rod Irwin, former Ambassador

Ferry de Kerckhove, former Ambassador of Canada,Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt

James M. Lambert, former Ambassador and former DG of Public Diplomacy

Christian Lapointe, ancien Ambassadeur du Canada

Anne Leahy, former Ambassador to Russia 1996-1999, former Ambassador to Poland 1993-1996,First Secretary Canadian Embassy to the USSR 1980-82

John Macfarlane CM

C. R. Mann, former Ambassador

Barry Mawhinney, former Ambassador

Carolyn McAskie OC, former High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, former Assistant Secretary General, United Nations

Brian Northgrave, former Ambassador

Roy Norton, former Consul General of Canada and former Chief of Protocol of Canada

Louis Poisson, ancien Ambassadeur

Andrew Robinson, former Ambassador

C. William Ross, former Ambassador and Consul General

Jean-Guy Saint-Martin, ancien ambassadeur dans différents pays d’Afrique et du Maghreb

John Schioler, former ambassador to Egypt, Sudan, Zaire, Congo (Brazzaville). Rwanda and Burundi

Sandelle Scrimshaw, former High Commissioner, Ambassador and Consul General

Scot Slessor, former HOM, Consul General

Richard Têtu, ex-Ambassadeur du Canada

CBC letter to signatories about “confusion”, Committee response

Two days after our open letter to the Prime Minister and three of his ministers (see here), Shaun Poulter, the Executive Director of Strategy, Public Affairs, and Government Relations for our public broadcaster and RCI’s administrator, CBC/Radio-Canada, wrote an email to some of the signatories of the open letter.

It appears that signatories whose email addresses were public, including that of RCI Action Committee spokesperson, Wojtek Gwiazda, received a form letter because “I saw that you had added your name to a letter calling for a halt on CBC/Radio-Canada’s planned changes” to Radio Canada International. The letter sought to make sure signatories had “all the information you need about the service” because “There has been some confusion over what we’re doing…” The letter copied the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Foreign Affairs Minister, and the Canadian Heritage Minister.

The next day, February 18, 2021, our spokesperson sent the Committee’s reply.

Since neither CBC nor the government has shown any movement on our appeal to stop the implementation of the new CBC policy taking RCI away from its core mandate of programming for external audiences, we felt it was important to make this letter public, and our response to it.

The following text is the reply. The original text of the CBC’s Shaun Poulter is in blue italics.

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Dear Mr Poulter,

Thank you very much for your email, which you shared with me, and some of the other signatories to our open letter. Thank you also for sharing it with the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Foreign Affairs Minister and the Canadian Heritage Minister.

We are appreciative of the fact that you wanted to share your perspective.

What follows is a response to your email. It does not address every comment you made but will help us all to be on the same page.

Hello,

I wanted to reach out to you because I saw that you had added your name to a letter calling for a halt on CBC/Radio-Canada’s planned changes to Radio-Canada International. There has been some confusion over what we’re doing and I wanted to make sure you have all the information you need about the service.

First I would like to correct the way you referred to Radio Canada International.  Perhaps this was a typo? There is no hyphen between Radio and Canada. Order in Council 2012-0775, states in English and in French, the name of our international service is “Radio Canada International.”

First, we are not changing the mandate of RCI. It remains an international service projecting Canada, Canadian stories and Canadian perspectives, to the world. That has not changed.

A reading of the CBC press release of December 3, 2020 would suggest otherwise. Within the outline of all the ways CBC will “modernize” RCI there is no mention of an international audience.

There is also no mention of international audiences in  “Radio Canada International’s transformation is focused on three key areas:”

And there is no mention of international audiences in the final paragraph of the press release:

“By becoming more relevant, more visible or more widely available in the languages spoken by the largest number of new Canadians, the new offering will allow Radio Canada International to better connect and engage with its target audience. RCI will also make all this content freely available to interested ethnic community media.”

In fact, this last paragraph confirms what we have said, the new transformation very clearly puts the focus of RCI on a target audience in Canada, which is not part of Order in Council 2012-0775.

What has changed is the way people around the world today access news about Canada.

Once, RCI on shortwave was the only way to get news about Canada. Today it is through the Internet.

Radio Canada International has been on the Internet since the mid 1990s at the same time as CBC. We have successfully used the Internet since then, independently of the CBC.

The challenge we have is that our international audiences are overwhelmingly using our traditional websites, CBC.ca and Radio-Canada.ca to reach us, bypassing RCI.

It is difficult to react to this statement. How much of this is Canadians abroad, and how much is non-Canadians, RCI’s international audiences?

The number of weekly visits to the RCI site from outside of Canada is less than 0.05% of outside visits to CBC.ca or Radio-Canada.ca. Inside Canada, it’s less than 0.01%.

Again, are these Canadians abroad? Also we are not quite sure about the importance of this statement. CBC’s budget is more than a billion dollars, RCI’s is about $2 million. We might be able to raise those figures you mentioned if we were better funded.

We are trying to change that by increasing the visibility of RCI with a home page presence on CBCNews.ca and Radio-Canada.ca, along with a languages portal page, in addition to adding it to the CBC News and Radio-Canada Info mobile apps. In this way, RCI’s international reach will be increased, not decreased, by our proposed changes.

How will international audiences know where to find RCI within the CBC and Radio-Canada websites? And why are RCI’s existing mobile apps being deleted? As is stated in the CBC press release: “the service’s five existing apps will be deleted.”

We are also going to increase the amount of content offered on RCI by using more of the great content already produced by our journalists at CBC and Radio-Canada and adapting it for international audiences. RCI staff will also begin offering weekly podcasts tailored to each language.

How is firing two of the three people in each language service, going to increase content offered by RCI? Surely you would agree, three people can produce more content than one person?

How is translating and adapting CBC and Radio-Canada content better than having trained international broadcasters who create content for their target audience?

How is firing all three English and all three French host-producers going to increase programming for international audiences?

And you point out that under the new policy there will be one podcast per language per week under the new policy. How is that better than what RCI does right now?  Each language section produces 18 audio reports per week.

Finally, on languages, we are going to be able to offer content in two additional languages, Tagalog and Punjabi, in addition to the English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin already offered. We are also adding a reading option in traditional Chinese.

We acknowledge that CBC is adding two languages, as the press release pointed out:

…the addition of complete sections in Punjabi (the third-most-spoken language among immigrants to Canada after the main Chinese languages, Mandarin and Cantonese) and Tagalog (the language of the Philippines and increasingly spoken in Canada).

This raises the important point, that the languages chosen were ones spoken in Canada, and not languages that were chosen to attract international audiences.

We truly believe that these changes are necessary and will make RCI a better, more used international service for the Internet age. It will also help new Canadians learn more about their new country. In order that RCI complement other ethnic media services in Canada, we will also offer the RCI content to them at no charge.

Again this appears to really focus on an internal Canadian audience, which is very laudable, and perhaps CBC should embark on creating programs for this audience, but that is not the mandate of RCI. And the mandate of RCI is given to it by Parliament through the Broadcasting Act and Orders in Council, not by the CBC.

I know that some of the changes, particularly the job cuts, are concerning to many. Wojtek Gwiazda, who runs the RCI Action Committee, has been particularly dedicated since his retirement a decade ago.

I appreciate you singling out my efforts, but would correct you though. As concerned by the job cuts as I am, my main concern over my 30 years as the Committee spokesperson, has been with protecting Canada’s Voice to the World.

And I retired in 2015, so coming onto six years.

What he is proposing is a completely separate service. Unfortunately that is not how we will reach, and better-serve global audiences in the Internet age.

We are not proposing a “completely separate service”. We are proposing a form of financial and editorial autonomy, something that existed well into the beginning of the 1990s.

In case you haven’t seen it, our full announcement from last December is here: https://cbc.radio-canada.ca/en/media-centre/radio-canada-international-transformation

Thank you for that reminder. You might be interested in reading our analysis of the press release, which was published on our website on December 17, 2020, two weeks after the press release: http://rciaction.org/blog/2020/12/17/major-transformation-does-not-respect-international-mandate-of-rci-2/

And also this analysis published the day after the new policy announcement was presented to RCI staff: http://rciaction.org/blog/2020/12/04/modernizing-rci-to-death/

We appreciate your continued interest in, and support of the service. Please let me know if I can provide any other information to you.

Sincerely,

Shaun Poulter

Shaun Poulter
Executive Director, Strategy, Public Affairs, and Government Relations

Directeur général, Stratégie, Affaires publiques et relations gouvernementales

CBC/Radio-Canada
Cell: (613) xxx-xxxx
shaun.poulter@cbc.ca

We also appreciate your continued interest in our attempt to protect the international mandate of Radio Canada International.

Please let us know if you need any further information.

Wojtek Gwiazda

Spokesperson, RCI Action Committee

Cell: 514-xxx-xxxx

Email: wojtekrciaction@gmail.com

RCI Action Committee

Website: http://rciaction.org/blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RCI_Action

bcc: Open Letter Signatories

Radio Canada International, thoughts for the future

There’s a remarkable document from 1994 few are aware of, which 27 years later highlights some astute observations and pragmatic possible solutions to the problems facing Radio Canada International in 2021.

Its dry title “Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications on the Mandate and Funding of Radio Canada International” barely hints at the incisive analysis and conclusions in the report’s 29 pages.

The Senate Committee’s decision to examine and report on Radio Canada International came about because of the efforts of a Progressive Conservative Senator, Finlay MacDonald, and a Liberal Senator, Raymond Perrault. It came after the failed attempt by the CBC to shut down RCI in 1990 and the service’s budget cut of 50 percent in 1991, which eliminated half the language services and about half of the staff of 200.

In an overview of the history of the international service, the Senate report very quickly highlighted the Fowler Commission on Broadcasting of 1965, its recommendation that the international service be called Radio Canada International (it was in 1972), and the fact that the Commission saw the need for expanding the services of the international service:

Broadcasting to overseas audiences is still, and will always be, an indirect aid to Canadian foreign policy. But it is also a direct means to other important ends: the projection abroad of a Canadian image that reflects the nature of the country and its people, their policies, beliefs, and tastes

The Senate report did not mince words in describing the situation facing Radio Canada International after the 1991 budget cut:

RCI’s limited funding as set out in its post-1991 budget is hampering its ability to adapt to this changing environment, and no doubt RCI’s market share is eroding on this basis. All told, the Committee finds that stakeholder estimates of 11 million listeners lost due to these funding cutbacks do not seem unreasonable.

While these estimates of lost audiences remain debatable, the loss in Canada’s prestige around the world is not.

It’s strange to see how current some of the observations of witnesses to the inquiry were. From the Business Council on National Issues:

In an era of globalization and international communication, it is essential to maintain a strong Canadian voice abroad and to provide a “window”, if you will, on Canadian issues, perspectives, institutions and initiatives.

When the Senate report deals with the mandate of Radio Canada International it goes straight to the heart of many of the difficulties faced by RCI, particularly in its relationship with the CBC:

Thus the Committee feels that the mandate is too fungible and subject to too much interpretation. For example, the mandate uses terms such as: to provide, to distribute, and to broadcast. The mandate does not use the terms: to produce, to present, or to create. The subtle differences in the meanings of these terms are at the heart of these conflicting and argumentative interpretations.

Furthermore, the mandate uses terms such as: “designed to attract an international audience… “; to “further developing international awareness of Canada… “; and to “reflect the realities and quality of Canadian life and culture.” These terms are very much expressions that are qualitative rather than quantitative. The relevance of this subtle fact becomes apparent with the aid of examples. Non-targeted programs produced by the CBC, such as As It Happens, or by the SRC, such as Le Magazine Economique, are specifically designed to attract a domestic audience, not an international audience. An international audience can only be qualified as “collateral” demand for such broadcasts, and, as such, these programs are certainly not an effective way to attract an international audience.

And then the report highlights the core problem facing RCI’s existence and mandate:

While the Committee recognizes and does not wish to encroach upon the arm’s length relationship of the CBC with the government, particularly relating to its programming functions, it nevertheless concludes that some guidance should be provided to the CBC by the government in terms of its international service as entitled under subsection 46(2) of the Broadcasting Act.

The Committee recommends that the government ask the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to review the mandate of its international broadcasting service in consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada with a view to clarifying and strengthening it. This review would consider the inclusion in the mandate of an obligation on the part of Radio Canada International to produce and create English and French language programs to be broadcast to all mandated geographic regions, prioritizing these regions to include countries such as Japan, Germany, and China.

After outlining some of the issues in the organizational structure of Radio Canada International and its relationship with the CBC and, at the time, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (FAIT), the Senate report concludes “the objectives of RCI are more consistent and compatible with the foreign and trade policy objectives of FAIT than that of the cultural policy objectives of the CBC. “

But it also concludes “something lacking in the present organization of RCI between the CBC and FAIT. The simultaneous withdrawal of service from Japan and Central Europe, in particular Germany, creates a vacuum in broad information dissemination to these geographic areas. The end of RCI transmissions to these key trading markets to Canada is contributing to a growing gap in public awareness of Canada…” And so it recommends the establishment of an Advisory Council to Radio Canada International with members from the Canadian community with specialized knowledge of international affairs, trade or communication which would report to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

When the Senate report addresses the issue of government funding of Radio Canada International it immediately raised the most important issue:

An unfortunate fact of international broadcasting is that the listening audience is not resident of the broadcasting company’s home country and, thus, a political constituency promoting these vital services does not form to make sure that government officials and politicians take notice of their interests. International broadcasting, therefore, is a “pure” public good with no highly visible or vocal political base. This problem appears to be more serious in Canada than elsewhere.

The Committee believes that the previous recommendation to establish an Advisory Council on RCI affairs and to have it report the Minister of FAIT would to some extent address this problem in the future.

While recognizing the funding problems of Radio Canada International, the Senate report praised the way RCI was run:

The Committee concludes that RCI is run effectively within its budgetary constraint and represents money well spent, but is underfunded…

The Committee also feels that the current funding arrangement must be modified to provide for better planning of these services. The Committee concludes that RCI executives and officers require a longer funding time horizon.

The Senate report recommended that funding to RCI be restored at its 1990 level so that the seven languages dropped in 1991 would be restored, and ended with the intention to follow up:

It is the intention of the Committee to follow-up on the implementation of its recommendations to the government. In February 1995, the Committee will invite the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and his officials to respond to it and to indicate to the Committee the actions taken and planned to be taken (with a time schedule for implementation) by his Department on these matters.

But in 1995, CBC again tried to shut down Radio Canada International, saying it did not have the budget for the international service. The government stepped in with funding. The same scenario was repeated in 1996.

The Senate Committee’s recommendations were never implemented.

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Please note: The RCI Action Committee does not necessarily agree with all of the recommendations of this Senate report, but it is an important report to be considered in any assessment of the future role and organization of Radio Canada International.

For the record: Committee request for explanations from CRTC

On January 25, 2021, the Committee sent a request for explanations from Canada’s broadcasting regulatory body the CRTC concerning the lack of questions by CRTC commissioners when two separate witnesses testified that RCI’s administrator, CBC/Radio-Canada, had violated Article 46 (2) of the Broadcasting Act.

The Committee request for answers also highlighted the CRTC’s decision not to allow the Committee to address the same violation.

Here is the text our request for explanations:

Secretary General Doucet,

We would respectfully request that you explain the following puzzling situation:

Last week, two different interveners, former Radio Canada International (RCI) Executive Director, Andrew Simon, and union president Pierre Tousignant told commissioners that the CBC was violating the Broadcasting Act.

After both presentations none of the commissioners asked about the violations, even though these directly address the issue of the licence obligations of the CBC/Radio-Canada during these licence renewal hearings.

In the second presentation on Friday by the union president Pierre Tousignant, there were a number of topics to be dealt with, so on one level one could perhaps understand there was not enough time to deal with the issue.

However, the presentation of Andrew Simon on Wednesday, almost entirely dealt with the issue of the CBC’s violation of the Broadcasting Act. Yet there was not one question raised by the commissioners. Not even a question about which part of the Broadcasting Act was violated.

More puzzling, and almost disturbing, is the fact that the Chairperson basically shut down the possibility of discussion by saying (paragraphs 8578):

THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your intervention. And you may know that we did have a discussion and some discussion last week about the current status of the service with executives from CBC Radio-Canada.

https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/transcripts/2021/tb01_20.htm

First of all, why would the Chairperson or the other commissioners not ask any questions, even if there were discussions, since the violation of the Broadcasting Act was at the centre of Andrew Simon’s presentation?

Second, the only mentions of RCI we could find during the previous week were two passing remarks by CBC President Catherine Tait:

Paragraph 528 on January 11, in the context of CBC’s presence internationally:

https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/transcripts/2021/tb01_11.htm

And of course we have RCI that has a very special role and we’re excited about some of the new things we’re doing with that particular service.

Paragrah 4062 on January 14 in response to a question on third-language programming

https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/transcripts/2021/tb01_14.htm

MS. TAIT: With respect to third-language programming, you know, CBC/Radio-Canada, it’s not determined in its mandate, with the exception of ICI, Radio-Canada International. And I think you heard from Luce earlier this week on what that service does, but really, most of that activity of third-language programming is left to the multicultural, multiethnic broadcasters.

Is this what Chairperson Ian Scott meant by discussion?

If these discussions “about the current status of the service with executives from CBC Radio-Canada” are not part of the public record of the hearings, what kind of discussions were they?

As you can imagine this issue is especially important to us, as we outlined in the urgent request to testify which we sent to you in an email on December 29, 2020, which we’ve been informed, will be “added to the public record of the proceeding.”

Despite the urgency of this issue, and the fact we only learned of this violation on December 3, we were refused an appearance by the CRTC’s Executive Director, Scott Shortliffe because our “request was sent very late in the process.” And yet, when others raised this issue at the hearings, the commissioners did not address it.

We count on the CRTC to act on this matter before the end of the CBC hearings this week.

Yours truly,

Wojtek Gwiazda

Spokesperson, RCI Action Committee


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If you would like to help us please consult this page:

What you can do – Comment vous pouvez nous aider

http://rciaction.org/blog/what-you-can-do/

For the record: Committee request to testify at CRTC hearings

On December 29, 2020, the RCI Action Committee sent a request to Canada’s broadcasting regulatory body the CRTC. It requested that we be able to testify at the licence hearings of CBC/Radio-Canada (which administers RCI) about the public broadcaster’s violation of Article 46 (2) of the Broadcasting Act. The request was refused for deadline reasons. “Unfortunately, your request was sent very late in the process.

In our request we had pointed out “We know this is extremely, almost impossibly, short notice. But we could not have predicted the December 3rd announcement, which will be implemented April 1, 2021″

On February 4, 2021, the CRTC confirmed that our request would not be put on the record by the CRTC.

Here is the text of our request to the CRTC Secretary General:


Secretary General Doucet,

On December 3, 2020, CBC/Radio-Canada announced a new policy that ignores its licence requirements. It violates article 46(2) of the Broadcasting Act and the Order in Council 2012-0775. And in so doing, it puts into question the survival of the Voice of Canada, Radio Canada International (RCI), after 75 years of existence.

I write to you as the spokesperson of the RCI Action Committee, a union supported committee that represents employees at RCI, and as someone who has testified, as the Committee’s spokesperson, before House of Commons and Senate committees since 1991. I was an announcer-producer with the service for 35 years, and retired five years ago.

We are appealing to CRTC commissioners to oblige the CBC to obey the conditions of its licence to have an international service with programming for an external audience, Article 46(2) of the Broadcasting Act.

In 1945, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King inaugurated the international service saying the international service was to extend Canadian ideals of equality and freedom to the world. Since then the policy has never been so overtly challenged.

The decision of whether the Voice of Canada should serve an external audience belongs only to Parliament, and not the domestic public broadcaster, which has been entrusted with facilitating the work of the international service., not destroying it.

We at the committee ask you to let us present more fully the facts and our concerns to the panel of commissioners holding hearings into the CBC/Radio-Canada licence.

We know this is extremely, almost impossibly, short notice. But we could not have predicted the December 3rd announcement, which will be implemented April 1, 2021.

We can provide documentation of CBC/Radio-Canada’s failure to respect its obligations in this case and others.

For instance in 2012, CBC/Radio-Canada banned RCI from broadcasting on shortwave (its key way of communicating to the world since 1945) and it stopped consultations with the Department of Foreign Affairs, both in contravention of Order in Council 2003-0358. It destroyed our shortwave transmitters in Sackville, New Brunswick, the only transmitter site in Canada that allowed us to broadcast to the world.

We cannot overemphasize the disastrous impact of the CRTC not reacting to the CBC/Radio-Canada’s disregard of its obligations.

We leave you with this one thought:

Imagine the BBC World Service being told it should stop being a “world service.”

That is what CBC is doing to Radio Canada International (RCI).

Yours truly,

Wojtek Gwiazda

Spokesperson, RCI Action Committee

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If you would like to help us please consult this page:

What you can do – Comment vous pouvez nous aider

http://rciaction.org/blog/what-you-can-do/

Carta abierta en defensa de Radio Canada International al primer ministro canadiense y otros ministros

La siguiente carta abierta fue enviada, el 15 de febrero de 2021, al Primer Ministro Justin Trudeau, a la Viceprimera Ministra Chrystia Freeland, al Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores Marc Garneau y al Ministro del Patrimonio Canadiense Steven Guilbeault, pidiéndoles que mantengan la integridad de la Voz de Canadá para el Mundo, Radio Canadá Internacional (RCI).

Treinta y dos firmantes, entre los que se encuentran el ex primer ministro Joe Clark, el ex embajador de Canadá ante Naciones Unidas Stephen Lewis, la escritora Naomi Klein, el autor, compositor y director de cine Richard Desjardins y el actor Donald Sutherland, piden que se bloquee el anuncio de la política de CBC/Radio-Canada del 3 de diciembre de 2020, así como cualquier cambio en RCI, hasta que el personal del medio, junto con un grupo de personas calificadas ajenas a CBC/Radio-Canada, puedan proponer un plan para reconstruir el servicio internacional.

Los firmantes sostienen que el plan debe concebir una forma de autonomía financiera y editorial para RCI. También debe trazar un camino a seguir para restaurar el mandato internacional y la eficacia de Radio Canadá Internacional en el contexto actual y futuro.

Por favor, vea también “Maneras en las que usted puede ayudar”.

Carta abierta

Hacemos un llamamiento al Primer Ministro Justin Trudeau, a la Viceprimera Ministra Chrystia Freeland, al Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores Marc Garneau, al Ministro del Patrimonio Canadiense Steven Guilbeault y al Parlamento para que preserven la integridad de la Voz de Canadá para el Mundo, Radio Canadá Internacional (RCI).

Desde hace más de 30 años, la CBC/Radio-Canadá intenta renunciar a su obligación de permitir que el servicio internacional desempeñe su función de transmitir la realidad canadiense a un público externo.

En primer lugar, en 1990, la CBC/Radio-Canadá intentó poner fin al servicio, después de haber utilizado los fondos destinados a RCI, para minimizar los recortes presupuestarios del servicio nacional.

En segundo lugar, en 2012, en contra de sus requisitos de licencia, CBC/Radio-Canada obligó a que RCI cese sus operaciones de radio de onda corta.

Más recientemente, en diciembre de 2020, de nuevo violando la Ley de Radiodifusión, CBC/Radio-Canada decidió que RCI dejaría de centrarse en la producción de programas para el público en el extranjero, su razón de ser desde 1945.

En un mundo interconectado que busca la verdad, los hechos y el periodismo honesto, países como Canadá no pueden renunciar a su papel en la escena mundial. No se trata de si podemos permitirnos una Radio Canadá Internacional fuerte. Se trata de si podemos permitirnos no tenerla.

No debemos subestimar el deseo de la gente de todo el mundo de saber más sobre Canadá, ya sea cómo funciona nuestra democracia, qué significa ser canadiense, nuestras relaciones multilaterales con otros países y todas las demás realidades que conforman nuestra nación.

La radiodifusión pública es una misión sagrada. Es la creencia en un ideal. Ese ideal se encarna en la determinación y la dedicación de los empleados de RCI para reconstruir una institución que está en ruinas. Hará falta imaginación, un acto de fe y la convicción de que nuestro país no sólo merece, sino que debe tener una voz independiente y creíble en la escena mundial.

Para avanzar, pedimos que se bloquee el anuncio de la política de CBC/Radio-Canadá del 3 de diciembre de 2020. Que se suspenda cualquier cambio en RCI hasta que el personal de la misma, acompañado por un grupo de personas calificadas, ajenas a CBC/Radio-Canadá, pueda proponer un plan para reconstruir el servicio internacional. El plan debe concebir una forma de autonomía financiera y editorial para RCI y esbozar un camino para restaurar el mandato internacional y la eficacia de Radio Canadá Internacional en el contexto de hoy y de mañana.

Firmada por:

Sami Aoun, profesor e investigador.

Michel Arpin, Vicepresidente de radiodifusión de la CRTC (2005-2010), Presidente del Consejo de Administración de la Asociación Canadiense de Radiodifusión (1984-1986).

Lloyd Axworthy, ex ministro de Asuntos Exteriores, presidente del Consejo Mundial para los Refugiados y la Migración.

Daniel Bernhard, Director Ejecutivo de Amigos de la Radiodifusión Canadiense.

Mark Bulgutch, ex productor ejecutivo de CBC News

David Carment, editor de Palgrave’s Canada and International Affairs, editor de Periódico de Política Exterior Canadiense y miembro del Instituto Canadiense de Relaciones Internacionales.

Margaret Catley-Carlson, ex presidenta de la Agencia Canadiense de Desarrollo Internacional (ACDI), ex viceministra del Ministerio de Salud y Bienestar, ex presidenta de la Asociación Mundial del Agua.

Honorable Joe Clark, ex Primer Ministro de Canadá.

Louise Desjardins, autora.

Richard Desjardins, cantautor y cineasta.

Jeffrey Dvorkin, ex editor y reportero jefe de CBC Radio.

Allan Familiant, ex director interino y ex director de programas de Radio Canadá Internacional.

Sheila Fischman, traductora literaria, Premio Literario del Gobernador General, Premio Molson de las Artes.

Nigel Fisher, ex Subsecretario General de las Naciones Unidas.

Wojtek Gwiazda, portavoz del Comité de Acción de RCI, ex presentador y realizador de Radio Canadá Internacional (1980-2015).

Sheldon Harvey, Presidente del Canadian International DX Club.

Naomi Klein, autora.

Avi Lewis, cineasta.

Stephen Lewis, ex embajador de Canadá ante la ONU.

Rowland Lorimer, director del Periódico Canadiense sobre Comunicación.

Robin MacNab, funcionario del servicio diplomático exterior canadiense (1971 – 2015).

Kyle Matthews, Director Ejecutivo del Instituto de Estudios sobre el Genocidio y los Derechos Humanos de Montreal.

Abhishek Mathur y Jyoti Rana, cofundadores del Festival Toronto Masala. ¡Mehndi! ¡Masti!

Errol Mendes, Profesor de Derecho y Presidente de la Comisión Internacional de Juristas – Canadá.

Peter Menzies, ex vicepresidente de la CRTC y miembro principal del Instituto Macdonald-Laurier.

Alex Neve, ex secretario general de Amnistía Internacional Canadá (2000-2020)

Samantha Nutt, fundadora de War Child Canada y autora de best-sellers.

Elzbieta Olechowska, ex editora de programación en inglés y francés, RCI/CBC/Radio-Canada, empleada de 1981 hasta 2008.

Robert O’Reilly, ex director general de Radio Canadá Internacional.

Andrew Simon, ex director general de Radio Canadá Internacional.

Donald McNichol Sutherland, actor.

Donald Winkler, documentalista y traductor literario.

Por favor, vea también “Maneras en las que usted puede ayudar”.

Breve historia de Radio Canadá Internacional

Setenta y cinco años es mucho tiempo, así que no es extraño que la mayoría de la gente no sepa lo que ha hecho Radio Canadá Internacional (RCI) desde su inauguración en 1945. Evidentemente, es imposible enumerar todos sus logros y premios, pero vamos a tratar de ver algunos de ellos.

Radio Canadá Internacional (RCI) era una emisora internacional de tamaño medio muy respetada, que produjo programas en unos 20 idiomas diferentes. Como voz de Canadá para el mundo, innovó con la radiodifusión de onda corta, los acuerdos de intercambio de tiempo de transmisión, las emisiones por satélite, la implantación de programas e Internet. Se ganó aprecio y premios en todo el mundo no sólo por su programación de noticias y asuntos de actualidad, sino también por otros numerosos servicios, como las clases de francés e inglés para emisoras locales de todo el mundo, y la grabación y distribución de discos de artistas canadienses populares y clásicos.

He aquí un rápido repaso de RCI desde 1945:

En 1990, Radio Canadá Internacional tenía una audiencia de entre 9 y 16 millones de personas.  Emitía programas especialmente dirigidos en inglés y en francés a Europa, África, Asia y América. También tenía programas específicos en ruso, ucraniano, polaco, checo, eslovaco, húngaro, alemán, portugués, español, árabe, mandarín, cantonés y japonés. Tras los recortes de 1991, sólo quedaban siete idiomas, pero RCI seguía ofreciendo 232 horas de programación original que se escuchaban en todo el mundo.

En 1982, para asegurarse de que RCI ofreciera noticias rápidas y detalladas, adaptadas a una audiencia internacional, desde la capital de Canadá, se creó una oficina en Ottawa con tres periodistas en inglés y tres en francés que informaban diariamente a todas las zonas destinatarias de los programas de RCI.

El Servicio de Transcripción Musical de RCI, que comenzó oficialmente en 1947 y terminó con los recortes en 1991, grababa a artistas populares, de jazz y clásicos, y difundía estas grabaciones en todo el mundo. Entre otros, Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, Louis Lortie, Pierrette Alarie, Jean Carignan, Moe Koffman, Tommy Banks, Karen Young, Andre Gagnon, UZEB, Pauline Julien, Gilles Vigneault fueron parte de estas grabaciones. Consulte este artículo de la Enciclopedia Canadiense (en inglés o francés).

Radio Canadá Internacional fue también una de las primeras en innovar y adoptar el Internet como medio de transmisión de información. Su sitio web se inició en 1996, y al año siguiente presentó un sitio web interactivo en siete idiomas que ofrecía información política y actualizaciones en directo de los resultados de las elecciones, además de reportajes grabados. Todo ello además de su programación habitual en directo con análisis y los resultados de las elecciones en todos los idiomas del mundo, por ejemplo.

RCI produjo programas musicales y de diálogo para emisoras de radio extranjeras.

RCI produjo una colección mensual “Pick of the Pops” de éxitos musicales canadienses en inglés y francés que se distribuía a 250 emisoras de todo el mundo.

RCI produjo cursos de radio en inglés y francés sobre la realidad canadiense y los distribuyó a emisoras de radio de todo el mundo en Europa, África, Asia y América Latina.

RCI gestionó y supervisó la programación de la Red de las Fuerzas Canadienses para las fuerzas de paz canadienses en todo el mundo.

RCI produjo un programa semanal de negocios de media hora que se emitió localmente en Hong Kong.

En su sitio de transmisión de onda corta en Sackville, Nuevo Brunswick, los ingenieros de RCI introdujeron técnicas innovadoras para ampliar el alcance de RCI en todo el mundo, además de innovar en los acuerdos de intercambio de tiempo de transmisión con emisoras internacionales de todo el mundo.

En la década de 1990, RCI organizó una serie de conferencias bienales denominadas Desafíos para la Radiodifusión Internacional que reunían a radiodifusores internacionales, académicos y otros.

Desde 2012, RCI produce programas y artículos de noticias y de fondo en inglés, francés, español, árabe y chino.

En 2020, la emisora nacional CBC/Radio-Canada anunció que el personal de RCI traduciría los textos de su servicio nacional, y que tendría una plantilla total de nueve personas.

En 2020, la emisora nacional CBC/Radio-Canada anunció que el personal de RCI traduciría los textos de su servicio nacional, y que tendría una plantilla total de nueve personas.

Colaboraciones del Servicio latinoamericano

- Coberture journalistique du la participation de Premier minstre du Canada au Sommet de la APEC à Los Cabos, Mexique, en 2002

- Coproduction avec Radio Fe y Alegría à Caracas, Venezuela.

- Coproduction avec le Institut Mexicain de la Radio, IMER, à Guadalajara lors de la Foire International du Livre. Québec était l`invité d`honneur.

- Coproduction avec Radio Education du Mexique

Por favor, vea también “Maneras en las que usted puede ayudar”.

Open letter to PM, Ministers calls for international service to be strengthened, not cut

The following open letter was sent February 15, 2021 to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau, and Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault asking them to maintain the integrity of Canada’s Voice to the World, Radio Canada International (RCI).

Thirty-two signatories, including former Prime Minister Joe Clark, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations Stephen Lewis, author-composer-songwriter-film director Richard Desjardins, author Naomi Klein, and actor Donald Sutherland, ask that the CBC/Radio-Canada policy announcement of December 3, 2020 be blocked, as well as any changes to RCI, until RCI staff, along with an assembled group of qualified people outside CBC/Radio-Canada, can propose a plan to rebuild the international service.

The signatories say the plan should devise a form of financial and editorial autonomy for RCI. And outline a path to follow to restore the international mandate and effectiveness of Radio Canada International in the context of today and the future.

For more information, please contact Wojtek Gwiazda, Spokesperson, RCI Action Committee, wojtekrciaction@gmail.com

If you would like to help us please consult this page:

What you can do – Comment vous pouvez nous aider

http://rciaction.org/blog/what-you-can-do/

******************************************

Open letter

We call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, and Parliament to maintain the integrity of Canada’s Voice to the World, Radio Canada International (RCI).

For more than 30 years, CBC/Radio-Canada has tried to abandon its obligation to allow the international service to do its job of transmitting the Canadian reality to an external audience.

In 1990, CBC/Radio-Canada tried to shut down the service, after using money earmarked for RCI, to minimize budget cuts to the domestic service.

In 2012, contrary to its licence requirements, CBC/Radio-Canada forced RCI to stop being a radio station broadcasting on shortwave.

Now in December of 2020, again in violation of the Broadcasting Act, CBC/Radio-Canada has decided to take away RCI’s focus on producing programming for an external audience, its raison d’être since 1945.

In an interconnected world in search of truth, facts and honest journalism, countries like Canada cannot abdicate their role on the world stage. It’s not a question of whether we can afford to have a strong Radio Canada International. It’s whether we can afford not to have it.

We must not underestimate the desire of people around the world to know more about Canada, about how our democracy works, about what it means to be Canadian, about our multilateral relations with other countries, and all the other realities that make up our nation.

Public broadcasting is a sacred trust. It is a belief in an ideal. That ideal is embodied in the determination and dedication of RCI employees to rebuild a tattered institution. It will take imagination, a leap of faith, and a belief that our country not only deserves, but also must have an independent, believable voice on the world stage.

To proceed forward, we ask that the CBC/Radio-Canada policy announcement of December 3, 2020 be blocked. That any changes to RCI be put on hold until RCI staff, along with an assembled group of qualified people outside CBC/Radio-Canada, can propose a plan to rebuild the international service. The plan should devise a form of financial and editorial autonomy for RCI. And outline a path to follow to restore the international mandate and effectiveness of Radio Canada International in the context of today and the future.

Signed by:

Sami Aoun, Professor and researcher

Michel Arpin, CRTC Vice Chairman Broadcasting (2005-2010), Canadian Association of Broadcasters Chairman of the Board of Directors (1984-1986)

Lloyd Axworthy, former Foreign Affairs Minister, Chair of the World Refugee and Migration Council

Daniel Bernhard, Executive Director, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting

Mark Bulgutch, former Senior Executive Producer, CBC News

David Carment, Editor, Palgrave’s Canada and International Affairs, Editor, Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, and Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute

Margaret Catley-Carlson, former President, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), former Deputy Minister Department of Health and Welfare, former Chair, Global Water Partnership

Rt. Hon. Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada

Louise Desjardins, author

Richard Desjardins, author, composer, singer, filmmaker

Jeffrey Dvorkin, former Managing Editor and Chief Journalist, CBC Radio

Allan Familiant, former Acting Director and former Program Director, Radio Canada International

Sheila Fischman CM CQ, literary translator, Governor General’s Literary Award, Molson Prize in the Arts

Nigel Fisher OC, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations

Wojtek Gwiazda, spokesperson RCI Action Committee, former host-producer Radio Canada International (1980-2015)

Sheldon Harvey, President Canadian International DX Club

Naomi Klein, author

Avi Lewis, filmmaker

Stephen Lewis, former Canadian Ambassador to the UN

Rowland Lorimer, publisher Canadian Journal of Communication

Robin MacNab, Canadian Foreign Service Officer 1971 – 2015

Kyle Matthews, Executive Director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies

Abhishek Mathur and Jyoti Rana, co-founders of Toronto’s Masala! Mehndi! Masti! Festival

Errol Mendes, Professor of Law and President, International Commission of Jurists, Canada

Peter Menzies, former CRTC vice chair and Macdonald Laurier Institute Senior Fellow

Alex Neve, former Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada (2000-2020)

Samantha Nutt, MD, MSc, FRCPC, CM, OOnt, Founder, War Child Canada and bestselling author

Elzbieta Olechowska, former Editor-in-Chief of English & French Programming, RCI/CBC/Radio-Canada employee from 1981-2008

Robert O’Reilly, former Executive Director, Radio Canada International

Andrew Simon, former Executive Director, Radio Canada International

Donald McNichol Sutherland CC

Donald Winkler, documentary filmmaker and literary translator

Lettre ouverte au premier ministre, ministres, exige que le service international soit renforcé, pas coupé

La lettre ouverte suivante a été envoyée le 15 février 2021 au premier ministre Justin Trudeau, à la vice-première ministre Chrystia Freeland, au ministre des Affaires étrangères Marc Garneau, au ministre du Patrimoine canadien Steven Guilbeault leur demandant de maintenir l’intégrité de la Voix du Canada sur le monde, Radio Canada International (RCI).

Trente-deux signataires, dont l’ancien premier ministre Joe Clark, l’ancien ambassadeur du Canada auprès des Nations Unies Stephen Lewis, l’acteur Donald Sutherland, l’auteure Naomi Klein et l’auteur-compositeur-interprète-cinéaste Richard Desjardins demandent que l’annonce de la politique de Radio-Canada/CBC du 3 décembre 2020 soit bloquée, ainsi que tout changement à RCI, jusqu’à ce que le personnel de RCI, accompagné d’un groupe de personnes qualifiées à l’extérieur de Radio-Canada/ CBC, puisse proposer un plan pour reconstruire le service international.

Les signataires stipulent que le plan devrait concevoir une forme d’autonomie financière et éditoriale pour RCI. Et esquisser une voie à suivre pour restaurer le mandat international et l’efficacité de Radio Canada International dans le contexte d’aujourd’hui et de demain.

Pour plus d’information veuillez contacter Wojtek Gwiazda, porte-parole, Comité d’action de RCI, wojtekrciaction@gmail.com

Si vous souhaitez nous aider, veuillez consulter cette page:

Comment vous pouvez nous aider – What you can do

http://rciaction.org/blog/what-you-can-do/

**********************************************************

Lettre ouverte

Nous demandons au premier ministre Justin Trudeau, la vice-première ministre Chrystia Freeland, au ministre des Affaires étrangères Marc Garneau, au ministre du Patrimoine canadien Steven Guilbeault et au Parlement à préserver l’intégrité de la Voix du Canada sur le monde, Radio Canada International (RCI).

Depuis plus de 30 ans, Radio-Canada/ CBC tente de renoncer à son obligation de permettre au service international de jouer son rôle qui consiste à transmettre la réalité canadienne à un auditoire externe.

Tout d’abord, c’est en 1990 que Radio-Canada/ CBC essaie de mettre fin au service, après avoir utilisé les fonds destinés à RCI, afin de minimiser les coupures budgétaires au service national.

C’est ensuite en 2012, contrairement à ses exigences de licence, que Radio-Canada/ CBC force

RCI à cesser ses activités de radio diffusant sur ondes courtes.

Tout dernièrement, en décembre 2020, encore une fois en violation de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion, Radio-Canada/ CBC décide que RCI ne mettrait plus l’accent sur la production d’émissions destinées à un auditoire externe, sa raison d’être depuis 1945.

Dans un monde interconnecté en quête de vérité, de faits et de journalisme honnête, des pays comme le Canada ne peuvent pas renoncer à leur rôle sur la scène mondiale. Il ne s’agit pas de savoir si nous pouvons nous permettre d’avoir une Radio Canada International forte. Il s’agit plutôt de savoir si nous pouvons nous permettre de ne pas l’avoir.

Nous ne devons pas sous-estimer le désir des gens du monde entier d’en savoir plus sur le Canada, que ce soit le fonctionnement de notre démocratie, ce que signifie être canadien, nos relations multilatérales avec d’autres pays et toutes les autres réalités qui constituent notre nation.

La radiodiffusion publique est une mission sacrée. C’est une croyance en un idéal. Cet idéal est incarné dans la détermination et le dévouement des employés de RCI à reconstruire une institution qui se trouve en lambeaux. Il faudra de l’imagination, un acte de foi et la conviction que notre pays non seulement mérite, mais doit aussi avoir une voix indépendante et crédible sur la scène mondiale.

Pour aller de l’avant, nous demandons que l’annonce de la politique de Radio-Canada/ CBC du 3 décembre 2020 soit bloquée. Que tout changement à RCI soit mis en attente jusqu’à ce que le personnel de RCI, accompagné d’un groupe de personnes qualifiées à l’extérieur de Radio-Canada/ CBC, puisse proposer un plan pour reconstruire le service international. Le plan devrait concevoir une forme d’autonomie financière et éditoriale pour RCI et esquisser une voie à suivre pour restaurer le mandat international et l’efficacité de Radio Canada International dans le contexte d’aujourd’hui et de demain.

Signé par :

Sami Aoun, Professeur et chercheur

Michel Arpin, Vice-président à la radiodiffusion du CRTC (2005-2010), L’association canadienne des radiodiffuseurs Président du Conseil d’administration (1984-1986)

Lloyd Axworthy, ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères, président World Refugee and Migration Council

Daniel Bernhard, directeur général, les AMIS de la radiodiffusion canadienne.

Mark Bulgutch, ancien réalisateur exécutif senior, CBC News

David Carment, rédacteur Palgrave’s Canada and International Affairs, rédacteur, Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, et « Fellow  » de l’Institut canadien des affaires mondiales

Margaret Catley-Carlson, ancien président, Agence canadienne de développement international (ACDI), ancienne sous-ministre du ministère de la Santé et du Bien-être social, ancienne présidente, Global Water Partnership

Très honorable Joe Clark, ancien premier ministre du Canada

Louise Desjardins, autrice

Richard Desjardins, auteur-compositeur-interprète-cinéaste

Jeffrey Dvorkin, ancien rédacteur en chef et journaliste en chef, CBC Radio

Allan Familiant, ancien directeur par intérim et ancien directeur de programme, Radio Canada International

Sheila Fischman CM CQ, traductrice littéraire, Prix littéraire du Gouverneur général, Prix Molson des arts

Nigel Fisher OC, ancien Sous-Secrétaire général des Nations Unies

Wojtek Gwiazda, porte-parole, Comité d’action de RCI, ancien animateur-réalisateur Radio Canada International (1980-2015)

Sheldon Harvey, Président Canadian International DX Club

Naomi Klein, auteure

Avi Lewis, cinéaste

Stephen Lewis, ancien ambassadeur du Canada à l’ONU

Rowland Lorimer, éditeur Canadian Journal of Communication

Robin MacNab, Agent du service extérieur diplomatique canadien 1971 – 2015

Kyle Matthews, directeur général de l’Institut d’études sur le génocide et les droits de l’homme de Montréal

Abhishek Mathur and Jyoti Rana, co-fondateurs du festival torontois Masala! Mehndi! Masti!

Errol Mendes, Professeur de droit et président de la Commission international de juristes – Canada

Peter Menzies, ancien vice-président du CRTC et « Fellow Senior » l’Institut Macdonald-Laurier

Alex Neve, ancien secrétaire générale d’Amnistie internationale Canada (2000-2020)

Samantha Nutt, MD, MSc, FRCPC, CM, OOnt, fondatrice, War Child Canada et auteure à succès

Elzbieta Olechowska, l’ancienne rédactrice en chef de la programmation anglaise et française, RCI/CBC/Radio-Canada employée de 1981-2008

Robert O’Reilly, ancien directeur général, Radio Canada International

Andrew Simon, ancien directeur général, Radio Canada International

Donald McNichol Sutherland CC

Donald Winkler, réalisateur de documentaires et traducteur littéraire

Broadcast regulator ignores crucial RCI questions

Canada’s broadcast regulator is ignoring charges that the CBC/Radio-Canada’s latest policy decision on Radio Canada International (RCI) is in violation of the Broadcasting Act. In a letter to the CRTC, the RCI Action Committee is asking for answers.

Twice last week at the public hearings of Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications agency the CRTC, investigating commissioners were told our national public broadcaster was violating the Broadcasting Act of Canada. Yet both times no questions were asked about the violations, despite the fact the hearings are being held to decide on the renewal of the national public broadcaster’s licence. The CBC/Radio-Canada is responsible for administering RCI under the Broadcasting Act.

On January 20, 2021, former RCI Executive Director Andrew Simon described the CBC/Radio-Canada’s “…incredible 30 year campaign to abandon its obligation to run Canada’s Voice to the World.”

… when I was Executive Director of Radio Canada International, and when we broadcast in 14 languages, 7 days a week, CBC tried to shut us down. Then it got a $12‑milion — $12 million from the then External Affairs to operate a much-reduced service. In 2012, it stopped broadcasting on shortwave and later demolished its Sackville transmitters. RCI continued on the Internet in only five languages.

Later in his presentation he said the new policy announced by CBC/Radio-Canada to transform RCI turned its focus away from RCI’s international mandate, which contravenes the Broadcasting Act.

The Broadcasting Act requires CBC, and I’m quoting, “to operate an international service which produces and distributes programming targeted at international audiences to increase awareness of Canada, its values, its social, economic and cultural activities”…

This needs further examination by the Commission and we certainly require an immediate ruling on CBC’s latest policy announcement that I just mentioned.

I think Parliament, and not the corporation, should decide if Canada has the Voice to the World, and how well such a service should be funded. As everyone tells us, the world needs more Canada.

Immediately, the CRTC chairperson Ian Scott, who was moderating the hearings, replied: “Thank you very much for your intervention. And you may know that we did have a discussion and some discussion last week about the current status of the service with executives from CBC Radio-Canada.” And then, there were no questions for Simon.

Yet searching several times through the transcripts of the hearings, we have only found two very brief mentions referring to Radio Canada International, and that in contexts totally unrelated to the international service.

On January 22, 2021, two days after Andrew Simon spoke, Pierre Tousignant, the president of the Syndicat des travailleurs et travailleuses de Radio-Canada was part of a larger presentation at the CRTC hearings given by unions representing media employees.

During his presentation in French, Tousignant described the “modernizing” of Radio Canada International announced in December as “another step in the slow death” of RCI. He said CBC/Radio-Canada did not respect RCI’s international mandate “to increase awareness of Canada, its values and its social, cultural and economic vitality.”

Nous soumettons respectueusement au CRTC et lui demandons d’examiner ce que nous considérons comme une violation par la SRC de l’article 46(2) de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion et du décret 2012-075. [Translation: We respectfully submit to the CRTC and ask it to review what we consider to be a violation by the CBC of section 46 (2) of the Broadcasting Act and Order in Council 2012-075.]

There was only one question to Tousignant about his statement and it was about the podcasts that would be produced under the new RCI policy. Again, no questions were asked about the violation of Article 46 (2) of the Broadcasting Act and Order in Council 2012-0775 which clearly outline CBC/Radio-Canada’s obligations to RCI’s international mandate as a condition of its licence.

We are more than just puzzled that the regulatory body, which refused the RCI Action Committee’s request to testify at the hearings because our request did not fit their request deadlines, did not deal with the violations brought up by the former Executive Director of RCI and the union president who represents RCI employees.

We immediately (January 25) emailed the Secretary General and the Chairperson of the CRTC requesting an explanation for the lack of questions on the charges made by the two intervenors.

We referenced in particular the statement made by the Chairperson following Andrew Simon’s presentation that  they “did have a discussion and some discussion last week about the current status of the service with executives from CBC Radio-Canada.”

First we asked: “…why would the Chairperson or the other commissioners not ask any questions, even if there were discussions, since the violation of the Broadcasting Act was at the centre of Andrew Simon’s presentation?

Second, after quoting the two short mentions of RCI in the transcripts of the hearings we asked:

Is this what Chairperson Ian Scott meant by discussion?

If these discussions “about the current status of the service with executives from CBC Radio-Canada” are not part of the public record of the hearings, what kind of discussions were they?

We ended our email with this request:

We count on the CRTC to act on this matter before the end of the CBC hearings this week.

As of today we have had no answer or any acknowledgement of our email.

We’ll keep you updated on the status of our request, and on the CRTC hearings.

___

UPDATE – January 27, 2021: Today we received an email from the CRTC in reaction to our email on January 25 telling us “for reasons of procedural fairness, the Commission cannot comment on an ongoing proceeding.”

UPDATE – February 4, 2021: Today an email from the CRTC Senior Broadcasting Analyst confirmed our December 29. 2020 letter to the CRTC asking to testify at the CBC licence hearings about the public broadcaster’s violation of the Broadcasting Act Article 46 (2) will NOT be put into the public record by the CRTC.

___

Detailed explanation of how the December 3, 2020 policy announcement does not respect the international mandate of RCI here

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