NUJ seek assurances that Newsquest will be obliged to pay back £100k if they close ‘Corgi Cymru’ news site
The National Union of Journalists have sought assurances from the Welsh Government that media company Newsquest will be obliged to pay back £100,000 in public funding if they close the Welsh language news site Corgi Cymru.
Newsquest’s English language national news service, The National, closed yesterday but its sister site, the Welsh language Corgi Cymru which launched in April and with which it shared much of its content, is still in operation.
Corgi Cymru currently receives £100,000 a year from the Books Council of Wales, who have said that the grant is not impacted by the closure of The National.
NUJ Wales however said that “we will be seeking assurances from Media Minister Dawn Bowden that should Newsquest close Corgi that they are contractually obliged to pay back the public money”.
David Nicholson, NUJ national executive council representative for Wales, said: “The closure yesterday of The National Wales diminishes further an already scarce media landscape in Wales.
“The NUJ calls on Newsquest to do the right thing for its loyal staff and pay redundancy pay despite, apparently, not being legally obliged to under UK employment law.
“That Newsquest chose to close the title on the day that Reach journalists took strike action is a sign that journalists will no longer subsidise these organisations paying vast sums to their directors and shareholders while expecting their staff to subsidise media operations.”
In March it was confirmed that rather than Golwg360 solely receiving the grant as was previously the case, £100,000 would go to Golwg360 and £100,000 to Newsquest to develop a separate news service.
The grants were awarded following an open tender process, which invites applications for the delivery of a dedicated Welsh-language digital news service.
The grant is administered by the Books Council of Wales on behalf of Welsh Government, with an independent panel awarding the funding.
“The closure of The National does not automatically affect the grant awarded to Newsquest to provide Corgi Cymru‘s Welsh digital news service, as the funding has been earmarked for that service,” said a spokesperson for the Books Council of Wales.
“The Book Council continues to support Corgi Cymru in accordance with our agreement, and we are in constant contact with Newsquest.
“We will monitor how the Corgi Cymru news service is provided following the recent changes.
“We agree with the NUJ that the issues facing Welsh news are challenging, and one of the main aims of this grant is to contribute to pluralism in the media in Wales, and specifically in the field of Welsh news.”
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