Latin lovers in Finland face radio axe

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HELSINKI -- In the various international rankings, Finland regularly conquers top positions despite its relatively small number of inhabitants. It also claims to be the only country in the world apart from the Vatican with a regular radio programme in Latin. Now the axe of saving, or globalization, is going to make the Nordic country lose this not negligible characteristic.

 The national broadcaster YLE announced recently that it wanted to interrupt the Latin news programme that has been beamed to listeners for some 30 years, called Nuntii Latini. For the moment, however, a moratorium has been granted on the decision to close the weekly program just to allow it to reach at least its 30th anniversary, which is to happen in the spring of next year. Until then, therefore, the rare and acclaimed program will be able to continue its weekly programming.

 Nuntii Latini began in 1989 and is aired on Friday on Yle Radio 1 at 6.15 p.m.

 The group of three people behind the programme, profs Reijo Pitkäranta, Tuomo Pekkanen and Mrs. Virpi Seppälä-Pekkanen said they had discussed its fate with the head of Yle, persuading him to postpone its termination. A petition was also initiated aimed at blocking the interruption of the programme.

 Prof. Pekkanen, moreover, has an excellent knowledge of Italian and Italian and is well known for having translated, over 30 years ago, the Finnish national poem, Kalevala, into Latin, of which a special specimen was officially offered, on Jan. 14, 1986, by a Finnish delegation in Vatican City to Saint Pope John Paul II.

 Radio executives have underlined how over the years there have been many appreciations received by the programme and many complaints received for the announced suppression.

 They also admitted that the Latin language broadcast is widely known abroad, and that the efforts and professional quality of the group of Latinists who have so far enabled it to obtain universal recognition and appreciation are widely recognized.

 Nuntii Latini offers listeners a summary of the latest news from the world as well as stories of various interest. Since 2011 it is also available on the YLE AREENA platform.



Prof. Tuomo Pekkanen. Photo> G.Nitti
Cover of the poem Kalevala in Latin