Campaigner in court over battle to devolve broadcasting powers to Wales

Heledd Gwyndaf. Llun gan Gymdeithas yr Iaith

A campaigner will appear before magistrates in Aberystwyth today for refusing to pay her TV licence fee as part of a campaign for Welsh broadcasting powers.

Heledd Gwyndaf from Talgarreg, Ceredigion,  will be the first to appear in court out of the over seventy activists. They are boycotting the licence fee in a bid to transfer powers over broadcasting from Westminster to Wales.

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 coming to Wales and a new tax on big new media businesses like Netflix, YouTube and Facebook.

Speaking in a rally ahead of the court case, Heledd Gwyndaf is expected to say:

“This battle is a battle for our language, our Welsh democracy and for our freedom as a nation,” she said.

“Despite all the developments in the media and digital since S4C, there’s still only one full Welsh language TV channel, and little Welsh content online.

“And on top of this, the London-based media is a massive threat to our democracy by failing to discuss Welsh issues and misleading people by referring to education and health issues when their England-only – we in Wales don’t have a clue who’s responsible for what. How is this democratic?”

Cymdeithas estimates that three new Welsh radio stations and three TV channels could be created by devolving broadcasting to Wales, with a budget of £250 million a year for Welsh content.

“Cymdeithas yr Iaith has another offer for the people of Wales: more Welsh language and Welsh broadcasters,” Ms Gwyndaf said.

“It would also empower people to create countless Welsh language online content for every age group and fund it by taxing companies like Netflix, YouTube and Facebook.

“The first step towards this will be the devolution of regulation, so that Ofcom doesn’t tell us what should be important to us as a nation, after all they don’t have a clue. They don’t serve the people of Wales or even pretend to do that.”

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