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Friday, November 25, 2011

Pravda in Wales?

To be honest I thought that we had moved on from the mindset that top-down state intervention could solve every problem, however it seems that Plaid Cymru continue to live in the 1970s and so it is no surprise that one of their AMs has written a piece for Wales Home today calling for the Welsh Government to take over the Western Mail newspaper.

I think we should be clear, there is nothing radical about a state buy-out. That sort of lazy politics should lie some distance behind us. These types of solutions defer decisions, they do not resolve anything.

I was though particularly taken by the reaction of Trinity Mirror as reported on the BBC. They said that they were "not going to dignify this with a comment".

Important as journalism is to the effective scrutiny of government and political life, it is difficult to get away from the fact that the Western Mail is a business and that it stands and falls on how many papers it can sell and what revenue it can derive from advertising.

I am not in favour of a state owned press. Such a concept conjures up images of Soviet Russia. If we were to go down that route then we would see an end to objective reporting and the holding to account of the Welsh Government by independently-minded journalists.

I think that the Welsh Government has enough on its plate in trying to sort out the economy, education and the health service without asking them to sort out the problems of the Western Mail as well. Equally, I am not prepared to hand over to Ministers the ‘national newspaper of Wales’ so that they can turn it into their own propaganda sheet.
Hence why the the Stalinist BBC should be privatized immediately.
I think you express the views of so many in Wales today.
The idea of nationalising WM slaps of absolute lunacy and paints PC as being completely out of touch with reality.
Wales already suffers in lacking any real plurality of media with three effectively regional papers across most of the population - WM for Cardiff and the Bay, Evening Post in the south west, and Daily Post in North Wales.
One of the reasons independent media is struggling is the crowding out by state-sponsored media - BBC/S4C, Golwg etc. This means they spend their efforts chasing advertising and copy/paste of stories peppered with rugby and Katherine Jenkins rather than challenging positions and chasing real stories.
Having two parties in the Bay wanting centralist state control of the media should send a shiver through us all.
What do you propose in the face of the inevitable downgrading of the W Mail to a weekly (cf Trinity Mirror's approach to the Birmingham Post and Lpool Daily Post)? Are you happy to watch as the market fails to deliver for Wales?
Let's have some positive suggestions instead of snide comments. If you feel the government is powerless to act in the business sphere, why the hell are you a politician?
Anon: How is it 'snide' to suggest that nationalisation isn't perhaps the best government response to market failure. If anything, it is the crowding out by state-sponsored (or rather controlled) media that makes the private/independent sector unsustainable as people take 'free' news sources instead.
Paints Plaid lunacy, what do you think the BBC seems to people these days backing which ever party is in power, but lunacy is watching the Liberals return to it's roots of Tory ism with it's people like Danny Alexander.
"If anything, it is the crowding out by state-sponsored (or rather controlled) media that makes the private/independent sector unsustainable as people take 'free' news sources instead."

Genuine question. Does any of the evidence to the Assembly media inquiry support this theory?

Is the BBC or Golwg actually state controlled? Are those outlets really the reason for the WMs decline?

I would suggest Trinity Mirror's journalism cuts are a more likely culprit.
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