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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Radio Canada International cuts Ukrainian program

This just in from Montreal ....

The Ukrainian Section at Radio Canada International (RCI) has been cut.

The surprise announcement was made this afternoon to the two-member personnel of the section.

The half-hour program aired Saturdays and Sundays since it was cut in half in November 2004, after over 50 years of broadcasting on a daily basis.

Even though the press in Ukraine appears relatively free, the same cannot be said of its big neighbor next door. (The International Press Institute (IPI) has included the Russian Federation on its Watch List.)

Ukrainian territorial integrity has been threatened by the Russian leadership in the recent past.

One should question the wisdom in pulling the plug on a service that gives a bird's eye view of a thriving democracy.

Canada offers a beacon of hope to the millions of Ukrainians who have wrestled with the Russian and Soviet Empires and have declared its independence on five separate occasions during the 20th century.

Thankfully under the Conservative Mulroney government, Canada became the first western nation to recognize Ukraine's independence in 1991.

The present Conservative minority government has made inroads in the Canadian ethnic newspapers, radio and television, knowing that it represents 35% of Canadian media.

Their message is sent to an often overlooked voter-ship - hence they are looking for more votes, especially in the next election, hoping to secure a majority government.

If Canadians (especially of Ukrainian descent) do not wish that this important service to our ancestral homeland, UKRAINE cease, then a public outcry is in order.

After 57 years, the final Ukrainian-language broadcast at RCI is slated for this Saturday-Sunday, March 28-29, 2009.

Feel free to listen to the archived programs here.

(Submitted by Simon Kouklewsky, Ukrainian Time Radio)

How embarassing for progressive-minded Canadians. Our country's public broadcaster cuts corners by axing a couple of hard-working professionals dedicated to serving a struggling, emerging democracy.

However, this doesn't come as a great surprise. And no doubt this budget cut was very welcome for those who have been struggling to kill the program for years.

If you are not in favour of this backward, irresponsible, and short-sighted move, send the President of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Mr H Lacroix, an email.


Ukemonde said...

Thanks Paulette for the sign of support. Another battle on our hands which requires the Ukrainian community support. Hopefully a positive outcome can come out of this all, and lay to rest the many attempts to close of Ukrainian section at RCI. Looks like the Russian influence might be in play here also!!!!

Stanislav said...

This is a mistake IMHO. Only 2 (two) full time employees of the Ukrainian program working for a million of Ukrainian Canadian and millions interested to know about friendly Canada in Ukraine. Recently they have updated dramatically the Ukrainian programming making it hot, interactive and close to everyday needs of Ukrainian community... That's what I've written down in my letter to RCI.

Pawlina said...

I agree, Stan, it's a mistake from a common-sense and human decency point of view.

The problem is that the CBC execs know very well that a large percentage of the fabled 1.2 million Ukrainian Canadians don't understand Ukrainian, so wouldn't tune in to the RCI broadcast anyway.

Rather, what makes this decision so evil is that it deprives Ukrainians in Ukraine of not only information, but inspiration as well. And that is not only short-sighted, it's downright mean-spirited.

But, for the afore-mentioned majority of Ukrainians Canadians who grew up with the CBC, it's just more of the same.

Pawlina said...

Roman, you're most welcome. I just wish there was more I could do.

It's encouraging to see the community rally round. Hopefully the petitions and letters will getto someone who can reverse this heartless and harmful decision.

Ukemonde said...

As a follow up to the RCI fiasco. The Ukrainian Embassy in Canada is also getting involved as far as I understood. They will have Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean bring this issue up with Ukraine's President and Prime Minister on her upcoming working visit to Kyiv. Not clear on how this fits in to the picture involving the BCB/RCI, but any high level talks is better than nothing. Will keep you posted!

Pawlina said...

Thanks, Roman.

How very odd that a crown corp would go out of its way to tick off an audience that is identifiable, loyal, and likely to protest cuts to its frequency of service.

What a waste of tax dollars that go to people who make such arbitrary, idiotic decisions.

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