‘I’m never going to allow’ Senedd to ‘control’ more of the Welsh media, says Tory minister
A Tory minister has said that he is “never going to allow” the Senedd to control more of the Welsh media.
David TC Davies, the MP for Monmouth, who is a minister in the UK Government’s Wales Office, said he feels “very strongly about this”, during an interview with Welsh language news website Golwg360.
The Conservative politician was defending comments he made about Nation.Cymru on TV, in which he claimed that the news site is “propaganda” and that it shows why broadcasting should not be devolved to Wales.
He was speaking on S4C show Pawb a’i Farn when he said that Nation.Cymru and Welsh language news site Golwg showed why the responsibility for broadcasting should not be devolved to Wales.
In an interview with Golwg360, defending his comments on Pawb a’ Farn, David TC Davies said: “Where does this big demand for devolving powers come from?
“I’m sure a lot of platforms that receive money from the Welsh Government would like to see powers over broadcast being devolved.
“I’m never going to allow some sort of coalition in the Senedd control even more of the media, and I feel very strongly about this.
“It’s almost impossible to work in the Welsh media if you make this point and speak out about this like I am doing.
“We have a problem if the Welsh media is against one party as an editorial policy, while they’re receiving money from the public purse, and that’s the situation in Wales.”
‘Criticism from journalists’
The comments by David TC Davies on Pawb a’i Farn came in for criticism from journalists.
The political commentator Theo Davies-Lewis said:
Not content in trying to strip down the BBC, here’s a @UKGovWales Minister attacking English & Welsh language media outlets because they don’t like the stories. A very strange way to try and influence the news agenda. That rabbit hole @WelshConserv finds itself in grows… https://t.co/IoNmxAmr5c
— Theo Davies-Lewis (@TDaviesLewis) January 28, 2022
Daily Post business journalist Owen Hughes said: “Never like seeing this from politicians. Most (maybe all) media organisations will receive taxpayer money through advertising or direct support. I don’t think that should be dependent on the political leaning of that site/paper. We need a diverse media in Wales.”
In 2019 Nation.Cymru was awarded a £20,000 a year grant from the Welsh Books Council, alongside five other English magazines and news services and 15 magazines and news services in Welsh. The distribution of the grants is decided by an independent panel.
Over 80% of Nation.Cymru’s revenue now comes from over 1,000 financial supporters and advertising.
Nation.Cymru Director Ifan Morgan Jones said: “I think it’s quite telling that the minister could not identify which political party we are ‘propaganda’ for. Combined Labour and Plaid Cymru won 60% of the vote at the Senedd election, so perhaps he is mistaking occupying the centre-ground of Welsh politics for supporting those parties.
“We’re always pleased to carry pieces by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats and have published every opinion piece sent to us over the years by leaders Andrew RT Davies and Jane Dodds and their MPs and Senedd members.
“The truth is that we’re not pro any political party – we’re just pro-Wales, and want a national conversation about what is best for Wales. We will give a platform to anyone who wishes to argue in Wales’ best interests.
“However I think it is always a good sign for any news organisation when a government minister feels the need to criticise them on TV. Nation.Cymru was set up fewer than five years ago thanks to our supporters and readers we’re already making a mark on Welsh politics.
“We have over 1 million readers a month which shows we have become a significant part of the media landscape in Wales and our journalism clearly appeals to a large section of the country.”
The Chief Executive of Golwg, Owain Schiavone, said: “We are an objective magazine which treats everybody the same and we’re very proud of that principle
“We have a range of columnists from different backgrounds and we respect their freedom to treat and discuss subjects in the way they see fit.”
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