‘Essential’ to strengthen the Welsh media says First Minister

First Minister Mark Drakeford. Picture from a Welsh Government video.

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.”

 

‘Weakness’

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?”

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John Ellis
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John Ellis

Delyth Jewell highlights the core problem: broadcasting isn’t a devolved matter and, under this UK government at least, is almost certainly not going to be. And with print newspaper sales declining ever more as the years pass, it’s broadcasting that counts. However obvious the need is, I struggle to see any clear way through on this really significant and important issue.

Cambro
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Cambro

Very true. Though to be fair I don’t see it coming our way under ANY government. I don’t see Westminster Labour allowing devolution of broadcasting while Welsh Labour are running the WG.

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Starmer is different. But you have to be on your toes with any of ’em.

Phil
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Phil

What will be done about it .as usual nothing the Welsh will just turn over and accept the contempt that is shown towards us .
Why are we so different to Scotland where they are allowed they own media where as Wales it still a case of for Wales see England .
Thankfully nation cymru does allow some form of Welsh media information but for the rest of the Welsh Muppets who accept what’s given to us we will never move forward .

John Ellis
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John Ellis

The difference is that by the time the union between England and Scotland took place, Scotland had its own national monarchy and parliament and additionally had evolved certain of its own national institutions – notably regarding the law and education – which have endured and have remained different from England’s. Whereas the Wales that was conquered and ultimately absorbed pieceneal into England was essentially an early mediaeval tribal society roughly equivalent to what England had been in the eighth and ninth century, with only rudimentary institutions and no settled monarchy or parliament. And what little existed was abolished when Henry… Read more »

Phil
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Phil

Hi John
I appreciate your comments .but I get frustrated in the fact that our fellow countrymen/women are happy to be subjected to English rule .we have ample opportunity to put this right and change the history of Wales but MP s and MS s ( members of the sender) are happy not to upset the applecart and accept what’s given to us

John Ellis
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John Ellis

That’s a frustration I share. When I first moved out of England and into Wales to live, as a student in the mid-’60s, I was a unionist – not with any strong conviction, more an unexamined acceptance of the status quo. As things turned out I stayed on here to work after I left university, and it was my experience during the ’70s and early ’80s that gradually led me to the view that, overall, the union was by no means an unmitigated good thing for Wales! But even so I do think the different history underlies the ‘happy to… Read more »

Pawl
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Pawl

Agreed, much of our history is so much different. But our joint futures can be so much better than anything achievable through attachment to England and English culture.

Sibrydionmawr
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Sibrydionmawr

Part of the problem is that most Welsh people know so little about their own history. The amount of confusion and misleading information and downright lies being perpetuated over one aspect, the Welsh Not should be enough of an indication how badly this subject needs to be taught in our schools. Instead of the faffing around trying to avoid controversy over the Cwriciwlwm Cenedlaethol upsetting a few people who might get upset about it, history in Wales needs to be taught from the perspective of Wales, and that should be non-negotiable. Those who don’t like it are free to leave… Read more »

John Ellis
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John Ellis

I think there’s quite a deal of truth in that. My schooldays – in the Manchester area where I grew up – are a long way behind me now, but my memory of the history teaching in my secondary school days is that it was presented entirely through the lens, so to speak, of ‘British’ history. As far as I recall, phrases like ‘our great nation’s story’ were never actually used, but even so that seemed to be the perspective! And chance conversations over the years with people who obtained their education in schools in Wales leaves me with the… Read more »

Wrexhamian
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Wrexhamian

Secondary school history teaching (at least in my school, and especially at ‘A’ Level) consisted of the main component (British/English history) and a smaller part (Welsh history). I’d be curious to know what other Welsh people were taught in history lessons, and how big the Welsh component was (if any).

John Ellis
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John Ellis

Thinking back, the thrust of history teaching in my secondary school was sort of ‘episodic’. We began with the old stone age, and moved on till we arrived at the bronze and iron ages and contemplated the first ancient civilizations. Then to classical Greece, Alexander the Great, the rise of Rome, the Romans in Britain and the proto-Welsh, then the Anglo-Saxon settlements, the eventual union of their kingdoms, the Norman conquest, and so onward towards the current era. It was as if ‘the curtain fell’ at the transition points and we moved on to ‘the next scene’ – with the… Read more »

The Bellwether
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The Bellwether

Strengthen the Welsh Media? Essential? Do they mean a Welsh version of The Sun, Daily Mirror, The Guardian or theTimes or Telegraph? Are the current Welsh newspapers insufficient? Are the Western Mail or The Pembrokeshire Herald or the Carmarthen Journal etc etc. not doing a good job catering to their local audience? Are there not enough tits on page 3? And what do they mean by Media? S4C, BBC, ITV? Golwg 360, Nation.cymru? It’s just words. Unless there is a demand (from the public) then what’s the point? It is not a case of ‘build it and they will come’.… Read more »

John Ellis
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John Ellis

My guess is that the ‘The Pembrokeshire Herald’ is a weekly, as the ‘Carmarthen Journal’ certainly was when I lived in those parts years ago – just like the Denbighshire ‘Free Press’ where I live now. And as such not comparable with the ‘Sun’, ‘Daily Mirror’, ‘Guardian’, ‘Times’ or ‘Telegraph’. The only Welsh journal which, as dailies, at all begin to compare with them are the ‘Western Mail’ and the ‘Daily Post’; but the former barely circulates in the north and the latter’s virtually unknown in the south. Effectively – and unlike the case in Scotland – there’s no national… Read more »

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Cannot see a problem with government publishing. The BBC is basically a state institution, overseen. Othe countries refer to the BBC as British state television, they aren’t silly. Just have a body to oversee things. We need to know.

Wrexhamian
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Wrexhamian

This should be in the manifesto of any political party that’s serious about winning the 2021 election and isn’t afraid of exercising power sanctioned by a democratic mandate.

Sibrydionmawr
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Sibrydionmawr

Norway seems to have no problems in releasing state funding for the print media as it deems it an essential part of the democratic process and of holding government to account.

Ann Owen
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Ann Owen

So no answer from Drakeford to Delyth Jewell’s vey pertinent questions – warm words and hand-wringing, but no actual thinking cap on and determination to find a solution! Things have to change in Wales – we need a First Minister and government that can identify challenges, bring solutions to the Senedd, build the positive support and act with energy and determination to make things better for us in Wales.

Arwyn
Guest

Not much they can do about print or online media. I think that’s up to us to support. That the English media doesn’t do any Welsh editions (by way of comparison to Scotland) has historically not helped, unless we do something about it, why expect anybody else to help. There are a few outlets we can support … Nation of course but also New Media Wales and Gwalia Media. What’s a fiver a month to help get a homegrown media off the ground? Where the First Minister and his government can help is by pressing for devolution of broadcasting. Wales’… Read more »

Steve Duggan
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Steve Duggan

It’s pretty obvious the Welsh Parliament has now finally realised that the lack of Welsh media has hampered its ability to get a message across, that it has contributed to the lack of awareness the Welsh population has of Welsh powers in Cardiff Bay. It knows it will have to put pressure on the UK government to devolve the media here. However, that will probably never happen – Westminster, particulary a Tory held Westminster, will never grant that to Wales. So we have to develop one ourselves. A governmental commitee needs to be established to find the best ways to… Read more »

Sibrydionmawr
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Sibrydionmawr

Well fortunately the present time makes it easier than ever and cheaper than ever. Anyone can set up a YouTube channel, or even create their very own website, though this is a more expensive route as it involves running a website and servers etc. But still not impossible, and a fraction of the cost of a mainstream broadcaster. What is almost certainly lacking are the skill s required, but I’m sure there are undiscovered gems hidden in the Welsh population Certainly there wouldn’t be much money in it, at least at the start, but if it offered a few people… Read more »

Josh Foster
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Josh Foster

Jesus, the irony of this. Where has this twerp been all his life? He’ll turn around next and say that maybe Welsh people should be educated about…Welsh history!

Phil
Guest
Phil

And the rest of the Labour twerps over the past 20:years