‘Essential’ to strengthen the Welsh media says First Minister
The First Minister has said that it is “essential” that the press in Wales is strengthened, following concerns that people in Wales were being misled by the different coronavirus advice published by the UK Government.
Answering a question by Delyth Jewell MS in the virtual Senedd, Mark Drakeford however said that they needed to be careful about government intervention in the Welsh media.
Speaking in Welsh he said: “Llywydd, I agree that the present situation has strengthened devolution in the minds of people here in Wales.
“I agree with Delyth Jewell when she says that it is essential to try to strengthen what people in Wales can get from people who work in Wales in the press and broadcasting.
“It is difficult for the Government to step into that gap, isn’t it? Because money from government raises concerns for people if the effect of that will put pressure on people who produce news to do it in a way the government wants to see.
“So we have worked with the committee Bethan Sayed has chaired [the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee] to think about things we can do to strengthen the situation here in Wales.
“But for the government to do too much creates problems. It helps us with some problems but it raises other problems.”
Delyth Jewell had said beforehand: “First Miniser, the crisis has proven the worth of devolution, but has also highlighted structural problems in the Welsh political landscape.
“One of these is the serious weakness of our media. Last week newspapers that were being sold in Wales had a front-page advert, paid for by the UK Government with the ‘stay alert’ message that did not apply to Wales.
“And the London papers are full of stories that aren’t relevant to Wales, without this being explained, which causes confusion.
“The same situation does not exist in Scotland where they have Scottish editions of London newspapers and a whole raft of Scottish papers.
“A recent YouGov poll reflected this, showing that 40% of people in Wales did not know enough about you to give an opinion about your performance. The corresponding figure for Sturgeon in Scotland was 6%.
“First Minister, what plans does the Welsh Government have to transform this situation, now it’s a matter of protecting the public’s health?
“And have the past few weeks convinced you that broadcasting should be devolved?”