.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A poor decision

The decision by the UK culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt to scrap the independently funded news consortia for Wales was the wrong call.

Mr. Hunt believes that these consortia are not a good use of public money and wants to use the money to fund the roll-out of superfast broadband instead. He also wants to reform local cross-media ownership rules and look at the potential for commercially viable local TV stations in the UK nations and regions.

I have no problem with any of that but I do think that Wales and Scotland were a special case and that there should have been a dialogue and a more considered approach to our situation before this decision was taken.

Geraint Talfan Davies in fact sums up the situation perfectly: "Whatever the applicability of local TV in England... the equation in Wales is quite, quite different and what is needed here is support for a really strong national news service for Wales, [that is] competitive with the BBC."

Wales' position is unique. We have a national democratic institution and a growing Welsh political and cultural identity. That needs to be reflected in the diet of news, current affairs and drama we are fed by the media. There needs to be some diversity in the delivery of that service so as to reach the maximum possible audience and so as to stimulate debate and healthy competition.

At present there is no national newspaper as such, certainly not one that reaches all corners of Wales. Although we have strong regional radio stations, it is the BBC that dominates both in this medium and in television. ITV has been struggling to compete for some time and is now cutting back on its provision.

In these circumstances it is not more local services that we need but a rival national provider to keep the BBC on its toes and offer choice to viewers. The least that Jeremy Hunt could have done before making this decision is to have come to Wales and seen this for himself.
'Wales and Scotland are special cases'

Why have you not mentioned Northern Ireland in that argument too? They're in a similar situation, surely?
Except there was no pilot proposed for Northern Ireland
The joys of coalition meen that this is as much the fault of the Lib Dems as it is Jeremy Hunt's.

Just another example of the Coalition letting down Wales.
If you want to put things in such stark terms but as my Plaid Cymru friends tell me on here things are not always as black and white. Whatever the situation, I and my Welsh Liberal Democrat colleagues strongly disagree though I am sure it is not a world-ending decision on the part of Jeremy Hunt.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?