Plaid Cymru call for halt of deep cuts to news media jobs in Wales

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Plaid Cymru have called on a news company that publishes the Western Mail and Daily Post to reconsider deep cuts to their staff.

The party said there was a danger that audiences in Wales would be dependent on content created in and for an audience in England, with little direct relevance to Wales.

Siân Gwenllian MS, Shadow Minister for Culture, Education and the Welsh Language wrote to the Chief Operations Officer of Reach Plc to urge him to reconsider the propose job cuts for Reach Plc.

More than 70 journalists at Media Wales, which publishes the Western Mail,  South Wales Echo, and South Wales Evening Post have been told their jobs are on a redundancy “at risk” list.

Staff at the Daily Post newspaper in the north of Wales, which is owned by a separate branch of Reach Plc, have also been told their jobs are in the balance.

The news follows announcements that Newsquest is losing 25 people in Wales, and BBC Cymru Wales is expected to see 60 jobs go.

 

‘Award-winning’

In the letter to Alan Edmunds, Reach Plc’s Chief Operations Officer, Plaid Cymru’s Arfon MS Siân Gwenllian MS said that the move could worsen the democratic deficit in Wales.

“As a member of the National Union of Journalists, I recognise the importance of a distinctly Welsh press and media, both in reflecting the values of our nation and in holding law makers to account,” she wrote.

“The timing of this announcement is a devastating blow to the individuals concerned in what was already an anxious time, and it opens a chasm in what was already a democratic deficit.

“Now more than ever, reporting on devolution and where decision making lies should be a priority for all media outlets. Any decision that impairs or threatens the ability to do so should be avoided at all cost.

“I would, therefore, ask that you reconsider proposals that would in any way diminish the capacity that Reach currently has in Wales. Indeed, the Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted an increased appetite from people to be informed about decisions made in Wales.

“Relying on shared content created in England which will have little or no relevance to a Welsh audience would be a highly regressive step. A truly national newspaper that reflects the rich diversity of life in Wales can only be sustained with a workforce of adequate size. This is essential to cover every issue and every part of our nation.

“Many of Reach’s employees are award-winning journalists and renowned writers in their fields; to many, Wales’s voice in print.

“Plaid Cymru has always supported an independent Welsh media and urge you to reconsider this decision in order for us to be able to continue that support with renewed energy in the post-Covid context.”

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