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