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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

S4C - questions grow

A few days ago I expressed my concern over on the Freedom Central blog at the new management arrangements in place at S4C after the resignation of Iona Jones:

What is particularly concerning is that the few checks and balances that are built into the S4C structure appear to have broken down. The BBC report that the channel will no longer be run with “due separation” between the authority and top management. In that case, who is carrying out scrutiny and who is asking the awkward questions? It is certainly not the DCMS or Parliament.

Lee Waters on the Bevan Foundation blog has reflected those concerns and expanded on them with some rumours he picked up on the Eisteddfod Maes that Iona Jones resigned in the face of demands that the authority have a greater say in the running of the channel:

Let me make myself clear, I am not making any attempt to defend the way S4C is being managed. But one look at the membership of the S4C Authority convinces me that if any board can ‘ditch due seperation’ and involve itself directly in the running of a television channel, then this is not the board to do it.

What’s more the S4C Authority has a role as a regulator, how can it scrutinise the management if it is part of the management?

Lee is absolutely right. There needs to be proper oversight of the way that the channel is run and that cannot happen when the body charged with that scrutiny is involved in day to day management. Some serious questions need to be asked about whether the correct checks and balances are in place or not.
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