National Communications Council responds to Labour and Plaid Cymru plan for ‘new media authority’
The National Communications Council has responded to a proposed agreement between Labour and Plaid Cymru to create a new media authority in Wales.
The campaign group, which is pushing for powers over broadcast to be devolved to the Senedd, has cautiously welcomed the deal, which aims to tackle the weakness in the Welsh media, but said it is “not enough”.
The agreement between the two parties, includes support for the devolution of broadcasting and communication powers and regulations.
According to the Council, this is just a small step in a long journey to ensure fairness for Wales and Welsh issues in the media, and it added that it “needs to be backed up by a comprehensive strategy”.
The deal includes a plan to “explore the creation of a shadow Broadcasting and Communications Authority for Wales, to address our concerns about the current fragility in the media and attacks on its independence.
“This body would support the use of the Welsh language, particularly in digital and encourage media plurality.
“We believe broadcasting and communication powers should be devolved to Wales.
Bethan Jones Parry, a member of the Council’s Board said: “Devolving broadcasting will be of great advantage to Wales and to the Welsh. The pandemic has proved that our national stories and priorities are not always reflected in the media’s agendas.
“There is no doubt that Wales is not reflected in its entirety on the Welsh media let alone on any British platform.
“The people and citizens of Wales now understand the size of this huge gulf in communications and they know from experience that the present situation is not healthy, fair or democratic.”
She added that a statement of support is also not enough as it needs to be backed up by a comprehensive strategy linked to time specific targets in order to realise the aim.
“Using words and phrases such as ‘research into possibilities’, ‘tackling concerns’ and ‘supporting’ although positive, are not enough. This whole aim needs more ambition and strong leadership – and quickly, as the current situation has and continues to damage Wales’ identity and its devolved Senedd.
“We will be more than pleased and ready to work with politicians of all colours and anyone else who is interested and who works in journalism, film, local radio, television and online in order to see the powers and regulations which influence the way they work, devolved as soon as possible.”