68-year-old woman faces court over broadcasting powers for Wales

The logo for Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s devolution of broadcasting campaign

A woman from Ffostrasol will appear in court in Aberystwyth this afternoon for refusing to pay for the television licence fee as part of a campaign to devolve broadcasting powers to Wales.

68-year old Eiris Llywelyn, from Ffostrasol in Ceredigion, is the third person to face court as part of the campaign for broadcasting powers for Wales.

Other members of the Welsh language pressure group, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, Heledd Gwyndaf and William Griffiths, were sentenced in Aberystwyth and Caernarfon at the end of last year.

Over eighty people are currently refusing to pay for their licence fees in an effort to transfer control over TV, radio and online communication from Westminster to Wales.

According to a YouGov opinion poll published last year, 65% of people in Wales favour devolving powers over broadcasting to the Senedd in Cardiff.

“This campaign is as important as the fight to establish S4C back in the seventies and eighties,” Eiris Llywelyn said.

“It’s a fight for the future of our language, our communities and for our democracy.

“Democracy is impossible without powers over the media – and a media which reflects our values and our culture – so that we see the world through a Welsh window.”

‘Terrible’

She said that devolving the broadcasting system is as important as the political system itself.

“The current system is run from Westminster,” she said. “Every day, we’re treated as part of England by all the British broadcasters and British propaganda which is broadcast to us in Wales.

“Westminister holds the reins. That’s what’s responsible for our current broadcasting backwater in Wales. It’s why we only have one television channel – and even its financial and editorial independence hangs in the balance – one radio station and a few hours on a second one.

“The commercial companies have free reign to do whatever they wish with local radio and get rid of the few Welsh language hours which used to be broadcast.

“The lack of other platforms is terrible and Wales is far behind in the digital revolution. The language won’t live unless it’s used on every type of media and is the natural language of the digital media in Wales.

“The lack of Welsh language content on the web is a matter of concern; if the language is not visible and does not adapt to the digital age it has no future.

“Cymdeithas yr Iaith has seen all these dangers and calls on the Welsh Government to demand that powers over broadcasting and communication are devolved.”

Last year, campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith presented their proposals for a devolved system of broadcasting.

They claim that tens of millions of pounds extra would be available to invest in Welsh content on TV, radio and online through devolution with control over the licence fee and a new tax on big new media businesses like Netflix, YouTube and Facebook.


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