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Thursday, August 12, 2004


The Welsh Culture Minister has criticised the BBC for not being devolution friendly. He believes that national programmes such as Newsnight do not understand devolution and often confuse English-only issues as applying to Wales as well. I believe that his comments are a little unfair. BBC Wales actually has made a major commitment to the devolution process. Not only do its reporters demonstrate time and time again that they understand the issues and report them fairly but the organisation itself devotes a huge amount of resource and programming time to telling people what goes on in the Assembly.

The lack of understanding of devolution by BBC reporters at a UK level is not unique and I am surprised that the Minister has singled them out as he has done. It is an education process after all and people do not learn by being berated in this way. Perhaps if the Minister is so keen on changing the way that these matters are reported and increasing understanding then he should start with the UK Government. It is an acknowledged fact that there are still many Government Departments who do not understand devolution and who brief the press as if they still ran Wales.

Perhaps he should also look to his own party. The Labour manifesto at the last election advocated policies across the whole of the UK as if the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly did not exist. There was a passing nod to the devolution process but that was all. If Government and the main political parties cannot get it right then how can we expect the BBC to do so?

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