Is there enough plurality in the Welsh media?
Dr Ruth McElroy, Reader in Media and Cultural Media at the University of South Wales, went before the parliamentary Welsh Affairs Committee into Broadcasting in Wales earlier this week.
Dr McElroy was asked to give oral evidence after submitting written evidence to the committee in Autumn last year as part of her role as Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Media and Culture in Small Nations.
The centre raises a number of issues around the issue of plurality of media in Wales. They highlighted:
Public service broadcasters (PSBs) play an enormously important role in Welsh broadcasting, providing content and services to the people of Wales which the market alone does not, and likely will not, provide.
There have been major cuts to these broadcasters in recent years that have impacted upon programming and commissioning. Most strikingly, there has been a very substantial reduction in English-language programming by Wales for Wales. This matters because it suggests that PSBs may not be delivering fully their public service duties as one might wish. The devolved nature of Wales and the rest of the UK requires a refreshment of PSBs’ delivery to the nations and regions in order to support democratic, cultural and economic aims.
Governance and accountability of broadcasting in Wales needs better to reflect these devolved realities. There is a strong case for the Welsh Assembly being more active in monitoring the state of broadcasting in Wales and supporting an independent evidence base upon which inquires such as this one may draw in future.
In the evidence submitted to the committee, the Centre for the Study of Media and Culture in Small Nations looked at five main areas:
The implication of further efficiency savings on broadcasting in Wales
The suitability of current broadcasting governance and accountability arrangements in Wales
The cultural importance of English and Welsh language broadcasting
The economic impact of broadcasting in Wales
The implications of a reduction of English language programming output
Should funding for Welsh language broadcasting be ring-fenced?
Watch Dr McElroy’s evidence to the Welsh Affairs Committee on parliamentlive.tv.
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