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Welsh Govt urged to accept radical proposals to transform journalism in Wales

21 Jul 2023 3 minute read
NUJ has urges Welsh Government to implement radical proposals.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has made urgent calls to the Welsh Government to implement radical proposals which would transform public interest journalism in Wales.

The union is calling on Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Dawn Bowden and Plaid Cymru Cooperation Agreement member Cefin Campbell, MS, to accept the recommendations made in the public interest journalism working group report.

The report recommends the Welsh Government designate public interest journalism as a public service to promote and improve journalism in Wales.

The working group was tasked by the media minister to make recommendations to improve journalism in Wales following a meeting with the NUJ.

Its radical recommendations also included the following key things be put in place in Wales:

  • Public interest journalism to be designated as a public service which will trigger public funding.
  • A Wales Media Institute funded by the Welsh government administering funding of journalism in Wales and improving standards.
  • Local democracy-style reporters placed in news deserts around Wales – this follows on from the funding already put in place by the working group for a 12-month trial of a full-time reporter covering the Senedd.
  • Improving the diversity of journalists in Wales by developing apprenticeships and online training.

Transform

NUJ national executive member for Wales and working group member, David Nicholson said: “The proposal to designate public interest journalism as a public service is a radical solution that would enable a Wales Media Institute to be setup to transform and strengthen public interest journalism and increase the diversity of journalists in Wales.

“The pilot use of public money to fund a dedicated Senedd reporter for a 12-month trial has already attracted attention and support from many members within the Senedd, including the minister herself who also talked of public interest journalism being a public service.

“We eagerly await the minister and Plaid Cymru’s designated member Cefin Campbell’s formal response to the working group’s recommendations.

“We urge the Welsh government and Plaid Cymru to accept the radical recommendations from a working group established by the minister.

“This is a chance to transform an ailing media landscape in Wales and better captures and report on all the richness and diversity of Welsh life.

“The Covid-19 pandemic showed why public interest journalism is so important when people in Wales needed to know what the Welsh regulations were compared to the rules in England.

“Good journalism is a public service and without government money Wales will continue to be under-reported and its democratic deficit will grow.

“Civic society requires a vibrant media and democracy in Wales will be enhanced by the implementation of the proposals in the working group report.”


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Another Richard
Another Richard
10 months ago

No mention of how the independence of journalists will be guaranteed if they are dependent on the patronage of public authorities. In recent years much of the most valuable journalism in Wales has been undertaken by bloggers.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
10 months ago

So much for freedom of the press, ‘… s/he who pays the piper …’ and all that. State owned journalism is surely not the best way forward.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
10 months ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

State owned journalism is not the best ideal. We need a press owned within Wales (widely owned by Welsh people) and inwhich journalism standards that reports news relevant to Wales from a Welsh interest and international news from a Welsh interest. They must cover Welsh news and international news (including from other British Isles countries). This media must report in both Cymraeg and Saesneg. Most media at present is owned outside Wales. TV, radio news broadcasts from the BBC etc give priority to UK British news which are mostly irrelevant to the Welsh viewers and listeners. The long term aim… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
10 months ago

Looks like Pravda in the making. The Bay Bubble just don’t like anything that’s remotely free from the interference and manipulation of those in power.

CapM
CapM
10 months ago

The absence of an indigenous press is detrimental to democracy in Cymru.
A populace that is ill informed and unaware can only be of benefit to those who wish to exploit and manipulate it.

Will state supported journalism produce an informed and aware public.
It could.
Can a “free press” produce an ill informed and unaware public.
It has.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
10 months ago

Again Plaid Cymru is alone in standing up for Wales where the others capitulate or are complicit in our democratic deficit. But is there such a thing as a Welsh journalist in Wales? Most news we get is either Anglocentric or media beamed into our homes from England. Most Welsh , and it pains me to say this, are sadly ignorant about their own country let alone aware what’s going on locally in their communities when they watch & read news from sources outside of Wales. Just look at TV ads on the BBC, ITV & Sky supporting England’s Lionesses… Read more »

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
10 months ago

Wales does need its own media, but what there once was has largely either disappeared or been swallowed up by news conglomerates. A healthy democracy needs an independent press, but also needs regulation (so that it remains independent and doesn’t get swallowed up by a news conglomerate) and it needs some funding to support that. The fact that there is state funding to maintain an independent media need not mean that these sources become a mouthpiece for government. Norway has for years provided funding to ensure that there is the healthy balance in media needed to maintain a healthy democracy.… Read more »

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