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Monday, July 16, 2007

Standing up for Wales

The annual report of the BBC's Audience Council for Wales contains all the usual stuff about the poor coverage of the National Assembly at a UK level. They are quite right of course but at the same time we do not want to appear too needy in our search for approval from our English neighbours.

Where the lack of coverage does bite is in those areas in Wales who cannot or choose not to tune into Welsh Television stations. If we are to raise awareness of the Assembly then we must rely on network news to give us our fair share of the time available.

There is also no excuse for fundamental errors and omissions such as these:

Decisions of the National Assembly rarely make network TV – or London-based “national” papers for that matter – and then usually in comparison with England, for example when prescriptions became free in Wales.

There was very little coverage of the recent National Assembly election on network news.

There was no live network coverage when the Queen officially opened the third National Assembly.

As recently as last week, proposed changes to the national schools curriculum that would only apply in England were wrongly being described on network TV as affecting both England and Wales.

It does not help the BBC's cause either when the paper reports that the BBC’s National Trustee for Wales and chairwoman of the Audience Council for Wales, Janet Lewis-Jones, has to pull out of an interview with the Western Mail because of a decision taken by senior BBC officials in London.
Yes. Mind you, the technology is changing the situation. From my home in Wokingham I watched the whole of the BBC Wales Assembly Election night coverage on the internet, extensively supplemented by the blogs. More and livelier info than I got in Wales on the previous two elections. (Maybe I should talk to my MP about it.)
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