New RCI Director Meets Staff

RCI’s new Director Helene Parent held her first meeting with staff this morning. She told employees she had wanted to come to RCI, and looked forward to working with them. In her introductory statement Parent said that she would make time to talk to employees individually to hear suggestions and observations about the international service. She said she has great hopes for the future of RCI. She also added that there would be more cuts at the service.

Helen Parent has extensive experience in managing radio in the French service of our domestic radio- television service CBC/Radio-Canada, which is responsible for Radio Canada International.

Parent’s appointment as Director came suddenly on December 22, 2010. Roger Tetrault had been interim Director for the previous two years, after the departure of Jean Larin. Tetrault returns to his former position of Program Director. The position had been abolished when he became interim Director.

20th Anniversary of decision to cut RCI

Today, December 5th, is the 20th anniversary of the day Gerard Veilleux, the president of our domestic radio-television service CBC/Radio-Canada, announced Radio Canada International would only continue if the Canadian government paid for it.

This decision set off two decades of vulnerability, questioning, and changing of mandates that continues.

It also set off reaction through letters and faxes from Canada and around the world from listeners and from other broadcasters, and three successful campaigns to block RCI’s closure in 1991, 1995 and 1996.

What can you do?

The administrators of RCI and our domestic service CBC/Radio-Canada make the decisions, but they are also responsible to Canadians through Parliament and the ruling Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

We need for these administrators, politicians and the media in Canada and in your country to know that the cuts to RCI programming are unacceptable, that their policy changes should be scrapped, and that RCI’s international mandate to be Canada’s Voice to the World must be restored and protected by legislation. People to contact

February 2010 – Walls come down. What next?

How much more are we going to be reduced?

We really don’t know. But when you see those walls coming down to make room for others, it just underlines our precarious situation.

From year to year we lose staff, reduce services, newscasts, we’ve even stopped sending out program schedules to our listeners as of the autumn of 2009.

What …

This blog is still in its first testing stages, so apologies and thanks for your patience. And if possible, if you find errors, bad links etc, please drop us a line at rciaction@yahoo.ca Thanks.

Parliamentary Committee highlights our position

The 2003 report highlighted the following from the RCI Action Committee submission:

“The Broadcasting Act must outline RCI’s mandate to “attract an international audience” and develop “international awareness of Canada” [the CBC's Corporate Policy No. 14]. It must specifically oblige RCI to prepare such programming in both official languages, English and French. There should be sufficient guidelines in the Act to ensure most regions of the world are covered, and to ensure RCI broadcasts in major foreign languages, and any others deemed important or useful. Without necessarily enumerating each region and language, these directives must be strong enough to prevent anyone but Parliament from being able to change the mandate of RCI. At the moment, there is very little that prevents the CBC from cutting services back radically.”
See entire submission here. See report here.

Why were two key corporate policies eliminated in 2005?

Being Canada’s Voice to the World and explaining Canada to the world, is at the heart of what Radio Canada International (RCI) is all about, and so it’s more than a little surprising to see how that mandate is being dismantled.

For example, CBC/Radio-Canada, Canada’s national public broadcaster is obliged to maintain the international service. And for years RCI’s mandate was defined within the Corporate and Program Policies of CBC/Radio-Canada.

In 2005, these policies (No 14 and 18) were eliminated.

CBC Corporate Policy No. 14  (Effective: May 13, 1980) clearly outlined RCI’s mandate: “Radio Canada International is directed by the CBC to provide a program service designed to attract an international audience with the purpose of further developing international awareness of Canada and the Canadian identity by distributing, through shortwave and other means, programs which reflect the realities and quality of Canadian life and culture….”

CBC Program Policy No. 18  (Effective: July 6, 1994) reinforced the international mandate: RCI’s program personnel, in carrying out the various elements of this objective, must consider the following:…. 2. To “attract an international audience,” RCI programming must be adapted to target audience interests and knowledge. The emphasis within information programming must be on topicality in order to reach the interested audience for shorwtwave…”

The abolition of these corporate policies and the integration of RCI into the domestic national service suggests how CBC/Radio-Canada interprets, and is changing, the main mandate of RCI to be Canada’s Voice to the World. This despite its obligations under Canada’s Broadcasting Act to provide an international service.

Details here of how the mandate continues to change.

Details of Corporate policies 14 and 18 here.

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