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Cymdeithas yr Iaith welcomes Constitution Commission Report’s recommendation to devolve broadcasting

18 Jan 2024 3 minute read
BBC Photo credit James Manning/PA Wire

Cymdeithas yr Iaith has welcomed the report of the Constitution Commission and its recommendation to work towards the devolution of broadcasting to Wales.

Representatives from the Welsh language campaign group say that the recommendations would create better opportunities to build a sustainable future for the Welsh language and the communities of Wales, but that what is needed is real independence which will empower and strengthen our communities.

The report

The Independent Commission On The Constitutional Future Of Wales, a cross-party group of 11 members, published its final report on Thursday 18 January following a two-year project.

Its interim report, published in December 2022, reported significant issues with the way Wales is governed within the Union and that the status quo was not a viable foundation for stability and prosperity for the nation.

Rowan Williams and Laura McAllister

The commission, chaired by Prof Laura McAllister and Dr Rowan Williams, a former archbishop of Canterbury, was set up in 2021 to examine how Wales is governed and options for change.

It was formed of 11 members from a range of backgrounds and political views.

Over the past two years, it has engaged with thousands of people across Wales through surveys, a community engagement fund, roadshows and an online platform.

The Commission has said that Wales should get extra powers in the fields of justice, policing, energy, broadcasting and rail infrastructure.

On broadcasting, specifically, the Welsh and UK governments should agree mechanisms for a stronger voice for Wales on broadcasting policy, scrutiny and accountability, with robust work on potential routes to devolution.

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, the leader of Plaid Cymru, praised the report as “groundbreaking” and a “very significant step forward in terms of the constitutional debate in Wales”.

“It is crystal clear that the status quo and the limited devolution we have is not sustainable,” he said.

“Steps need to be taken immediately to build on the current settlement and as a party we will be urging the implementation of the series of recommendations on strengthening Welsh democracy settlement with immediate effect.”

“Growing consensus”

According to Cymdeithas yr Iaith, recommendations for the devolution of broadcasting to Wales “adds to the growing consensus” that this is the way forward for the policy area.

As part of its report, the Commission recommended: “The Welsh and UK Governments should agree mechanisms for a stronger voice for Wales on broadcasting policy, scrutiny and accountability, and robust work should continue on potential routes to devolution.”

Responding to the report, Mirain Owen, Deputy Chair of the Cymdeithas yr Iaith Digital Group, said: “There are many significant findings for the Welsh language in this report, including the need to review governance arrangements and public spending in Wales to make them more democratic.

“The Constitution Commission’s Report identifies the shortcomings of a system centralised in London and adds to the growing consensus that the broadcasting system in Wales needs to be reformed.

“We welcome its recommendation to continue working towards the devolution of powers over broadcasting for the benefit of our language, our cultures and our democracy and we expect the Welsh Government to respond by establishing the Shadow Broadcasting Authority which will look at possibilities for the devolution of powers broadcasting.”


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