Requiescat in pace: Finland’s Yle radio axes Latin news show after 30 years

Public broadcaster cancels weekly summary Nuntii Latini as original presenters retire

Finlands public broadcaster Yle has ended its weekly Latin language news bulletin, after three decades on the air, the broadcaster announced.

Since its debut in 1989, Nuntii Latini has offered a five-minute summary of the weeks national and foreign news in the classical language.

In later years the show was also made available online, garnering it around 40,000 listeners around the world, including some from the Vatican.

The last bulletin was broadcast on June 14, and detailed the agreement between the US and Mexico on immigration, talks between the presidents of China and Russia and the end of the Latin programme, which post ferias aestivas non continuabuntur (will not resume after the summer holiday).

Reijo Pitkranta, one of the three producers of Nuntii Latini, prepares to read the news in Latin at the Yle Radio 1 studio. Photograph: Jari Tanner/AP

Some of my most memorable moments have been writing about the Estonia ferry disaster, the twin towers in New York and the Indian Ocean tsunami, said Reijo Pitkranta, one of three producers who made the show since its inception.

Kaj Farm, head of programmes for Yle Radio 1, said they had decided to cancel the show since the producers were unable to continue.

The same people have been doing it week for week now for 30 years, and they are not that young anymore, he told AFP.

Farm said the show had originally started as somewhat of an inside joke, and since it was hard to find suitable replacements for the ageing staff they decided it was time to pull the plug.

In addition to Finnish and Swedish, Yle produces news in English, Russian, Sami, Roma, simplified Finnish, Karelian and sign language.

Finland has distinguished itself as a bastion of the language of ancient Rome in other ways and is the home to academic Jukka Ammondt, who translated Elvis Presleys repertoire into Latin.

In 2007, Ammondt told AFP that Pope John Paul II thought it was a very good idea to promote Latin in this way.

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