Union leaks Radio France Internationale plans for change in language service
Text of report by French news agency AFP

Paris, 27 October 2008: Radio France Internationale is considering ending its broadcasts in six languages (German, Albanian, Polish, Serbo-Croat, Turkish and Lao) because of a shortage of listeners, a plan affecting around 60 members of staff, a trade union source told AFP on Monday [27 October].

The plan was put to the works council by RFI President Alain de Pouzilhac and the station’s director general Christine Ockrent, the source told AFP confirming a report in [business daily] Les Echos.

The RFI directors declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

“The directors are planning to end six languages. The reasoning is that there aren’t enough listeners,” said a union source. Programmes broadcast from Paris in German, Albanian, Polish, Serbo-Croat, Turkish and Lao would be stopped.

Most offices abroad would also have to close, apart from RFI Romania, the source said.

On the other hand, other languages would be developed under the directors’ plan: French, English, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Hausa and Swahili.

The directors are to provide more details about the plan and the fate of the staff affected at the next works council meeting on 20 November.

As part of ongoing public broadcasting reforms, RFI is to become a 100-per-cent owned subsidiary of the French Foreign Broadcasting [Audiovisuel exterieur de la France] holding company, run by Alain de Pouzilhac and Christine Ockrent.

(Source: AFP news agency, Paris, in French 0935 gmt 27 Oct 08 via BBC Monitoring)