From the National Communications Council
Our Media problem… and a solution to it
In response to comments made by a Senedd Member yesterday, the National Communications Council claims to have a credible solution to an issue that, they say, continues to blight our identity as a nation, that issue being the weakness of our media.
The National Communications Council notes that there is considerable grassroots interest in announcements made by the Welsh Government and in understanding the differences between us and other nations, but that this they say isn’t reflected in the media.
The Council added that this interest is something to celebrate and that it signifies that a change must happen as a matter of haste.
Delyth Jewell MS commented yesterday that such is the weakness of the current media in Wales that it has led to an ‘unacceptable and unsustainable democratic deficit’ and that the majority of us do not even have basic information about Welsh Government.
The National Communications Council have responded by saying that they believe strongly that such problems are wholly inevitable and will persist while all the decision making and regulation for our media in Wales is decided by another country’s companies and government.
According to the National Communications Council, the core issue is that Wales is largely being fed a version of itself through the filter of an English owned media perspective. Despite post-devolution successes and the increasing responsibilities of Welsh Government the Council believes that there is now little if any coverage that can be described as hard-edged journalism where the wheels of democracy can be seen turning.
The Council believes that Welsh Government has a critical role to play in correcting this imbalance and that any concerns of involvement in a media project should be set aside.
A spokesperson on behalf of the Council said: “We call on our Government to support the devolution of all powers over broadcasting and assist the initial creation of a quality media project for our nation across all platforms where the decisions are made in made in Wales… and for Wales.
“It is essential that the media in Wales becomes a real Welsh media. The overarching priorities of English and American companies — who serve us their content — is to perpetuate their profits and not to ensure that Wales has a media structure that reflects its pride and ambitions as a nation.
“The Covid-19 crisis has illustrated the difficulties perfectly in that Welsh Government’s strategic approach has been completely ill served by English media companies who publish and broadcast in Wales and who have regularly confused the message with not a thought to the substantial differences of perspective and policy that apply in a devolved nation. If anything has ever highlighted the need that something be done to legitimise our media landscape on this side of the border, then this is surely it.”
“Its autonomy and independence would need to be — and be seen to be — ‘holy’ across the political spectrum with reliable devices in place to ensure it could report as impartially as any outside agency. The commercial realities dictate that this can no longer be birthed successfully wholly as a business venture. But this in no way lessens its urgent importance for our future.”
“No other nation would even have to ponder or demand such an obvious solution.”
Another Council member commented: “What is possible is that we have a true Welsh media in Wales that relates effectively to the situation that exists here — one that holds our Government to account and does so many other things. But to even start making this possible there are fundamental MUSTS. Control of broadcasting in this country must be devolved and a serious and practical plan instigated to build a worthwhile Welsh media across all platforms. Everything is then possible — but we must start there.”
“Our First Minister has voiced his concerns several times… it is now time for his Government to formulate and prioritise action.”
From the National Communications Council
Communications Council Announces New Regulations Needed for News Platforms
The National Communications Council, a body established to develop regulations needed for broadcasting in Wales, has today announced four new regulations needed for all news providers, that broadcast or publish in Wales.
Since its inception last August, the Council has been working on developing a new broadcasting and publishing code that suits the cultural and political needs of Wales, as well as protecting the fundamental rights of its residents, upholding standards and ensuring fairness.
According to the Communications Council, the current period of lockdown due to Covid-19 has clearly demonstrated, yet again, the shortcomings and ignorance in the British media about the existence of Wales as a nation as well as political devolution.
The Communications Council has announced that these regulations, that would ensure that the people of Wales receives the correct information, are needed as a matter of urgency for the health and safety of the people of Wales, as well as for the health and development of its democracy.
The regulations would apply to those who broadcast news in Wales, on television, radio and in the printed press and their respective websites.
The four regulations, briefly, include*:
- News broadcasters must make it clear to their listeners and viewers of the law as it stands in Wales
- News of current affairs in the other four nations of the British Isles must not give one of the countries more attention than the others
- International news must not give the English-speaking nations of the world more attention than other countries of the world
- Any news from Westminster must be matched with news, on the same subject, as it stands in our democratic institutions – be it in the Senedd or in our Local Authorities or in our Community Councils.
A spokesperson for the Council said:
“The regulations, as they are, have failed Wales. The need to reform these regulations has always been obvious, and has been highlighted further during this pandemic. Without these, and further changes, our democracy fails.
We are therefore calling on our Government and our Senedd to move on these regulations as a matter of urgency. It is very likely that we would need to devolve broadcasting powers to Wales in order to achieve these. We need to move quickly. It needs to be done and it needs to be done now.”
*Note to Editor: please see full wording of regulations and their purposes attached below: