Decision not to include Welsh breakfast news bulletins on BBC One criticised
The BBC has been criticised after announcing that breakfast news bulletins from BBC Wales would no longer be shown on BBC One.
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said the decision was “shocking” and needed to be “overturned immediately”.
BBC Wales Director Rhodri Talfan Davies, however, defended the decision, saying audience figures were higher in the afternoon and tough decisions needed to be made given depleted staff numbers.
The BBC also announced that they would be broadcasting the Welsh Government’s daily news conference live on BBC One Wales, from Monday 30 March.
The daily press conferences – between 12.30 and 1pm – are convened for the First Minister, Ministers and Public Health professionals to update on the current Coronavirus situation.
Health is a devolved issue in Wales meaning that the response to the coronavirus pandemic is being spearheaded by the Welsh Government.
“The announcement that breakfast news bulletins from Wales will no longer be included on BBC One Wales is shocking,” Adam Price said.
“The lack of coverage of our country by British broadcasters is already an issue without this during the COVID-19 crisis. The decision needs to be overturned immediately.”
BBC Wales Director Rhodri Talfan Davies, however, wrote on Twitter that they were being forced to cut back because of the coronavirus forcing staff into self-isolation.
“Hundreds of my colleagues are working incredibly hard to sustain programming round the clock in the most challenging conditions we’ve ever faced,” he said.
“Each day they deliver 14 hours of live news across radio and tv in two languages – and full online services. I’m proud of them all.
“Staffing levels at the BBC have been affected across the UK, and we have to make hard calls about priorities. The audiences at 1.30, 6.30 and 10.30 are significantly higher.”
The announcement comes as BBC Wales sees unprecedented demand for its news output. More than 700,000 viewers are tuning into BBC Wales Today each day with the Newyddion team on S4C also attracting their biggest audiences of the year., the corporation said.