Parliamentary Committee recommends
more resources for RCI
Ottawa, 11 June 2003 - In a massive report on broadcasting in Canada called "Our Cultural Sovereignty", the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage described RCI as “an essential international service.”
Among its 97 recommendations the Committee called on the “appropriate department [to] review the mandate of Radio Canada International, with a view to identifying the necessary resources required to strengthen its services.”
In the two and a half pages devoted to RCI, the Heritage Committee reported that “Two groups, the RCI Action Committee and the Canadian International DX Club, made passionate submissions to the Committee.”
Quoting from the brief of the RCI Action Committee, the Heritage Committee wrote:
“The RCI Action Committee told the Committee that the government's support for an international service:
... must go further than just a general statement to "provide an international service". 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. This despite the fact that all of RCI funding comes from the Canadian Heritage Department.”
The Heritage Committee has requested that the government respond to its report.
The entire report is available on the Heritage Committee's Website LInk to site
The text on RCI is in Chapter 7, page 253 in the section on International Services.
Difficult times at Radio Canada International
The Committee's recommendations come at a time when Radio Canada International is increasingly losing control over services, as it is integrated into the domestic service, CBC/Radio-Canada.
Offices are being given away to personnel from the domestic service.There are even days were RCI conference rooms are so booked, that RCI personnel has to meet elsewhere.
The master control room that coordinated all broadcasts coming in and out of RCI, has been dismantled. Broadcasts are now routed through the central control of the domestic service.
Technical, adminstrative and support services are now all part of the domestic service. Production staff is still working with reduced resources, and a number of permanent positions have not been filled.
RCI Order in Council Changed
On a legislative level, the Order-in-Council that defines RCI's existence was changed in March of 2003 (for the first time since 1968). It has been shortened, is less specific in describing RCI's mandate, eliminates the role of RCI's Executive Director in dealings with the government, and is vague in the obligations of the domestic service CBC/Radio-Canada.
CBC RCI Bosses Silent on Committee Recommendation
Although the domestic service was quick to praise the Heritage Committee's recommendations about its services, it was silent on the recommendation for increased resources for RCI.
And even though RCI management was aware of the recommendation, it has not communicated the information to staff.
Staff was informed today (18 June 2003) by the RCI Action Committee.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions to help us, please contact the RCI Action Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
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