|RCI ACTION COMMITTEE
Defending Radio Canada International - Canada's Voice to the World
|RCI's Executive Director on the future of RCI
On Wednesday morning, May 23, 2001, RCI Executive Director Robert O’Reilly outlined a “Redeployment Plan” that will radically affect RCI programming over the next few months, starting the beginning of June.
The cuts will eliminate all RCI newscasts, in all languages on weekends. Morning shows to Africa, the Middle East and Europe will be cancelled. The evening broadcast to India will disappear as well. Russian and Ukrainian programs will be cut back from one hour to half an hour. In October, all one hour programs in English and French will be reduced to a one half hour news and current affairs package, followed by a repeat of five weekend programs that will have the following themes: Canada in the World, International Trade and Technology, Meet the Press, Arts and Culture, and Mailbag and Chat.
For weeks, staff has been told budget considerations were forcing the hand of RCI’s administration. We were told that RCI is spending above the $15.52 million allotted for RCI operations by the Ministry of Canadian Heritage and its Minister Sheila Copps.
Despite a surplus from last year’s budget, and an accord signed by the Ministry of Canadian Heritage with our domestic service CBC (which administers RCI), which guaranteed the service would continue at its present level of operations, RCI and CBC management have decided to make cuts to RCI operations on the assumption that there would be a shortfall of finances next year. (There is no cost of inflation index attached to the guaranteed permanent funding of the government.)
An interview with RCI Executive Director Robert O'Reilly on the cuts was broadcast May 27, on RCI's Maple Leaf Mailbag.
Here’s an excerpt of the interview:
“We’re not having a budget cut, but we have a budget situation…We managed to generate a surplus at the end of last year, which kind of alleviates some of the problem, but what we have to proceed to do now is to make sure that our operating requirement at the end of this fiscal year which is March 31, of 2002 is at the 15 and a half million dollar level …[The Ministry of Canadian Heritage completely finances RCI with a $15.52 million dollar funding package.]
“And that’s necessitated a number of really difficult and unpleasant decisions on our part, and for your listeners it means cuts. So, any way that you want to cloak it, it’s not a great news story. It could have been much worse, and I’ll leave [it to] your listeners to tell you how bad they perceive it to be.
“There are some immediate impacts that are going to be listened, heard and felt by everybody…The first thing, that they're going to be not hearing, is weekend live production…What they will know, immediately, and I mean immediately starting on June the second, is that there will be no live news broadcasts from RCI on the weekend.”
To see the main points of the "Redeployment Plan" click here.