Welsh Government announces expert panel to explore the devolution of broadcasting to Wales
Members of a new expert panel to pave the way for the devolution of communications and broadcasting powers to Wales have been announced by the Welsh Government.
The panel, which is being established as part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, will provide recommendations and options to help strengthen Wales’ media, and support the development of plans for an effective and fit for purpose regulatory framework for Wales.
The panel will advise and provide recommendations and options to support the work of delivering on the commitment to create a shadow Broadcasting and Communications Authority for Wales.
The Authority’s remit includes:
- Aiming to strengthen Welsh democracy and close the information deficit;
- Bring together and coordinate in a structured way the Welsh Government’s existing efforts to strengthen the media in Wales and innovations to support the Welsh language in the digital sphere such as amam.cymru;
- Enhance media pluralism and the use of the Welsh language on all media platforms.
Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said: “I am very pleased we can today announce the members of the expert panel which with their wealth of experience and knowledge can help us to explore the establishment of a shadow Broadcasting and Communications Authority for Wales.
“There is a consensus that the current broadcasting and communications framework does not meet Wales’ needs and that action is needed to develop a more fit-for-purpose framework.
“Ongoing threats to, and attacks on, public service broadcasting from the UK Government, and recent announcements by UK Ministers about the future of the BBC licence fee and Channel 4 privatisation, strengthen the case that the current system is flawed.
“I look forward to receiving the Expert Panel’s recommendations so that we can create a communications and broadcasting framework that works for Wales.”
Devolution of powers
It would also be tasked with developing a strong evidence base to support the case for the devolution of powers to Wales.
The Expert Panel will be co-chaired by experienced Welsh broadcaster Mel Doel & Professor Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones.
Members of the panel include:
- Nia Ceidiog
- Dr Llion Iwan
- Arwel Ellis Owen
- Ceri Jackson
- Clare Hudson
- Dr Ed Gareth Poole
- Richard Martin
- Geoff Williams
- Shirish Kulkarni
- Carwyn Donovan
In the Co-operation Agreement, the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru agree that broadcasting and communications powers should be devolved to the Senedd.
Designated Member Cefin Campbell said: “This has the potential to be an historic development for Wales, to turbo-charge our democracy. We believe that decisions about communications and broadcasting matters should be made in Wales, to make a real difference to our young national democracy, our language as well as local community life in all its variety.
“Establishing a Broadcasting and Communications Authority in our country that can protect, diversify, and enhance our local and national public service platforms will be a crucial step forward.
“A vibrant local and national media is crucial for reflect the tapestry of life right across the nation – debating, informing, and celebrating all our cultures and communities.”
“Our public interest approach in Wales stands in stark contrast to the London-centric, profit-at-all-costs approach of the UK Government. We believe in a future where there is a democratic, locally-embedded media pluralism that enhances Wales’ national life.”
Responding to today’s announcement, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for arts and culture, Heledd Fychan MS said: “Just as decisions about Wales should be made in Wales, so should the decisions about communications and broadcasting matters be made here also.
“Plaid Cymru has long campaigned for the devolution of broadcasting to Wales, and our tireless campaigning has been instrumental in getting us to this important milestone today.
“Having our own Broadcasting and Communications Authority is so important to be able to make content relevant to us, and this expert panel is an important step away from the current London-centric approach.
“We have our own sporting teams, our own parliament and our own language – it just makes sense to have our own platform for this.
“We shouldn’t be fighting for air space on a UK-wide platform when the answer lies in having our own devolved media. I’m delighted Labour has now finally agreed to support our calls and put these important steps in place.”
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