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UN Hebrew Broadcasts May Be Suspended

The acting director of the Radio-Visual Information Division, Paul Jankowski, described today as “a little pre- mature” a press report that the United Nations, pressing an austerity drive, “proposes” to discontinue payments for UN-financed radio broadcasts in Hebrew and seven other languages. These broadcasts by various UN correspondents are transmitted to their countries over UN-owned facilities. The idea is still only an “internal contingency plan,” Jankowski told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, in line with Secretary General Kurt Waldheim’s “request for economy” in UN operations in view of the world organization’s perilous financial status.

But Jankowski asserted that it is “distinctly our plan to make some cuts.” Waldheim has been criticized for endorsing the current special Security Council meetings in Ethiopia at a reported cost of $144,000. The UN’s payments for broadcasts in the seven languages referred to total $30,000 a year. The languages are Hebrew, Dutch, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish and Serbo-Croatian.

ARABIC BROADCASTS TO CONTINUE

Jankowski stressed that there was no political significance in the existence of a contingency plan to drop payments for Hebrew broadcasts, which service only Israel. The payments, he said, may be dropped in the cases where the countries involved are considered able to pay for them themselves. Israel has been getting $2,585 a year under the arrangement, which Jankowski called a “medium” sum measured against all the others.

Arabic broadcasts, on the other hand, are handled by the full-time UN staff, as are those in the official languages–English, French, Russian and Chinese–and Turkish and Swahili. Jankowski pointed out that whatever the final decision, the Kol Yisroel correspondent will continue to have access to “all the facilities.” An Israeli spokesman said the Mission “continues to be in touch with the Secretariat” on the matter.

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