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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The accident-prone TV channel

Oops! Now this is embarrassing. The S4C Authority last night, gave its backing to the channel's interim chief executive Arwel Ellis Owen after he clarified in a radio interview that he had not been an “editor” of BBC programmes Panorama and Newsnight, despite stating so on his company’s website.

Full details of the interview are on the walesonline website. In short it seems that there was a difference of opinion over what constitutes the role of editor of Panorama and Newsnight, a matter which was later addressed by a statement from S4C:

“The S4C Authority does not consider this an issue. The CV does not state that Arwel was ‘the’ editor. It states clearly ‘after periods in Cardiff and London as editor of news and current affairs programmes such as Week In Week Out, Panorama and Newsnight...”

However, a leading media Welsh figure, who didn’t want to be named, described the interview as a “PR disaster” for the channel.

He said:“What he [Mr Ellis Owen] should have done was recognised the mistake on his website and agreed to amend it. However to then try and bluster his way through it was a huge mistake.”

Whatever the facts the impression given is that S4C remains in crisis. What is worse is that there continues to be no proper external scrutiny of the channel, whilst the internal arrangements for ensuring accountability appear to have broken down due to the blurring of the roles of the Authority and the management board.
Don't believe the sophistry. The job title of Editor, Panorama is very simple. There is only one at any time. Here's a list of them from 1970s to 2000: *Christopher Capron *Roger Bolton *Peter Ibbotson *David Dickinson *Tim Gardam *Mark Thompson *Glenwyn Benson *Steve Hewlett *Peter Horrocks *Mike Robinson You can't sort of be an editor of Panorama any more than you can sort of be President of the USA. Now S4C's Authority has joined in the dissembling. At the very least he is guilty of sexing-up.
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