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Welsh Government in talks ‘at highest level’ about funding English language journalism in Wales

11 Mar 2021 2 minutes Read
Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM at the at the Celebration of the Mace official opening of the Senedd. Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0).

Discussions have been held “at the highest levels” of the Welsh Government about funding English language journalism in Wales with public money, according to a minister.

Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, was giving evidence to a Senedd committee on Thursday.

“For me, Wales is a bilingual country,” Dafydd Elis-Thomas said. “And so I should fund everything equally.

“Wales needs effective English language journalism, and alongside that we need similar Welsh language provision.”

He was speaking after a Senedd committee said earlier today that the Welsh Government should establish an ongoing central fund to support news journalism, with arms-length delivery and accountability to secure impartiality.

‘Similar system’

Dafydd Elis-Thomas drew a comparison with Golwg360 – a Welsh language service that receives £200,000 a year of public funds through the Welsh Books Council.

Nation.Cymru also receives £20,000 a year from the Welsh Books Council, although the majority of the site’s income comes through its subscribers.

“So Golwg’s model where the Welsh Books Council, the independent arms-length body, ensures that the funding is distributed properly,” Dafydd Elis-Thomas said.

“I wish there was a similar system for English journalism … The important thing is that there is an arms-length relationship.”

The minister also revealed that “commercial organizations” had “made bids”, before going on to say that he would prefer a “public sector funding mechanism”.

“That would ensure independence from commercial, or political, pressure,” he said.

He also said he was “optimistic” that the Government would eventually intervene to help English journalism in Wales.

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