UK Culture Secretary considering legislation to better protect Gaelic broadcasting
Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said she is considering legislating to better support Gaelic broadcasting.
She was speaking in the Commons where Conservative former Scotland Office minister Iain Stewart said Gaelic broadcasting “requires public sector broadcast status in legislation akin to that enjoyed by Welsh language broadcasters”.
Mr Stewart asked in the Commons if the Secretary of State has had recent discussions with Gaelic media service MG Alba.
Ms Donelan said: “The UK Government has a strong record of demonstrating our commitment to minority language broadcasting to make sure that our broadcasters serve all audiences of the UK nations and regions.”
She added to Mr Stewart: “Together we met MG Alba’s CEO earlier this year. I’m grateful to the chief executive for raising the issues of sustainability of Gaelic language broadcasting, and providing detailed proposals for change.
“My officials have since been in regular contact with the organisation, and I’m continuing to talk to counterparts in the Scotland and will discuss further with MG Alba in due course.”
Positive economic impact
Mr Stewart said: “Gaelic broadcasting is vital not just culturally and socially but also delivers a positive economic impact.
“Its future strength, however, requires public sector broadcast status in legislation akin to that enjoyed by Welsh language broadcasters.”
He suggested “the forthcoming Media Bill would be an ideal opportunity to provide that”.
Ms Donelan responded: “I entirely appreciate that certainty of future funding and a strong partnership with the BBC particularly is important for MG Alba to deliver for Gaelic speakers.
“They do have legitimate concerns and I have been examining their proposals in detail.
“And together with my officials what we are trying to do currently is decide whether legislation is the best mechanism to fulfil their concerns via the forthcoming Media Bill, or whether it’s better addressed through the future funding review of the BBC and the subsequent BBC Charter review.
“But I wish to assure him I am very engaged in these issues and want to try and get to a good solution.”
The exchange took place in the Commons on Thursday morning during a session of questions to ministers from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.