Defending Radio Canada International - Canada's Voice to the World
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Astonishing and bizarre situation at RCI

Madame Copps:

Let me express my deepest and sincerest concern over the astonishing
and bizarre situation happening at this moment in Radio Canada
International, affecting its broadcasts and more important, its employees and families.

Since many years ago, Radio Canada International has been very important to me. It has given me news, information and entertainment from your country; I have learned to appreciate and respect your country and institutions thanks to RCI broadcasts.

I think many listeners will agree with me that RCI is the only link they have to Canadian culture, news and information. It might be needless to say that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has not launched an international television service neither in English nor French, less in any other language.

For many Latin Americans, the only way to know about Canada is through RCI, and especially from its weekend program "Contestación a la Correspondencia", from its Spanish Service.

We have learned that there will be no more weekend news programming in any language. This may sound as absurd, because as we know, news do not only break on weekdays. That undermines the prestige RCI has had over the years.

Many shows have been cancelled, others are near their end. Radio Canada International is being left almost starving to die in the saddest way. This is so ironic, considering recent statements you've made May 6th, 2000: "I think the government has had a chance to understand and rethink the importance of RCI as an international voice for Canada to the world. And the investment that we’re making in RCI, is part of that permanent package... there are many, many millions of people who still depend on shortwave radio for that reliable service..."

Those statements, in contrast to your recent actions, leave us foreigners with a sense that Canadian Government is not always telling the truth to people. What a nice way to promote your country abroad. Please excuse me, but that's my honest feeling, after being told that a very good friend of mine will be crippled without a convincing reason for doing so.

It seems to be that you're thinking that CBC-produced programming will work in RCI. That may not be the case, since a program produced for broadcasting to an international audience can explain many things a show produced for domestic broadcasting doesn't, such as where a city is located, who an important person is, and why is he or she important.

Given the present confusion I respectfully request that you look into this
troubling situation, and I would also request that you consider letting some representatives of the RCI Action Committee participate in the discussions about RCI’s future. I request that you help end this confusion, especially since you have assured us in recent times that RCI would be kept with stable funding.

Radio Canada International has been promoting itself very successfully for a long time as "your friend on shortwave". Please help us keep our dear friend alive and well.

Best regards,
Rafael Rojas Cremonesi, Puerto La Cruz, Anzoátegui Venezuela