Devolving broadcasting powers to Wales is the only answer – why I went to court

Heledd Gwyndaf outside court. Picture by Cymdeithas yr Iaith

*English language version follows the Welsh*

Heledd Gwyndaf, Cadeirydd Cymdeithas yr Iaith

Rwyf wedi derbyn cosb gan lys heddiw am wrthod talu’r ffi drwydded teledu er mwyn datganoli pwerau darlledu i Gymru.

A hoffwn dalu teyrnged i’r holl bobl sy’n cefnogi’r ymgyrch hon, yn enwedig y bobl sy’n rhan o’r boicot.

Cryfder yr ymgyrch yw’r ffaith bod grŵp mawr ohonon ni bellach yn boicotio’r ffi drwydded deledu, a byddwn yn annog pobl i ystyried gwneud hyn. Ewch yma os hoffech chi gynnig help llaw.

Mae gwir angen symud y grymoedd darlledu o San Steffan i Gaerdydd: nid yw ein democratiaeth na’n hiaith yn gynaliadwy fel arall. Oni bai bod amrwyiaeth o ddarlledwyr cryf yn craffu ar ein Llywodraeth a gwleidyddion cenedlaethol, ni fydd y system yn atebol i, nac yn cael ei ddeall gan, y cyhoedd.

Ac nid oes modd i’r Gymraeg ffynnu o fewn cyfundrefn ddarlledu Brydeinig – bellach mae cannoedd o sianeli Saesneg, ond dim ond un sianel Gymraeg o hyd. Dim newid ers bron i bedwar degawd.

Ers i gyfundrefn ddatganoledig gael ei sefydlu yng ngwladwriaeth Sbaen ar ddiwedd y saithdegau, mae grymoedd wedi bod gan Catalwnia a Gwlad y Basg dros ddarlledu. Mae effaith yr hunan-reolaeth hynny ar ddatblygiad darlledu yn y ddwy wlad honno i’w gweld yn glir.

Mae gan Gatalonia dair gorsaf radio a chwe sianel deledu – pob un yn y Gatalaneg – ac yng Ngwlad y Basg mae’r sefyllfa yn lled-debyg gyda phum gorsaf radio a chwe sianel deledu. Mae’n sefyllfa drawiadol o wahanol i Gymru.

Nôl yng Nghymru, mae’r angen hwn am ddatganoli darlledu yn amlwg i bobol ar lawr gwlad – yn ôl arolwg barn a gyhoeddwyd gan YouGov llynedd, mae 65% o bobl Cymru yn ffafrio datganoli grymoedd darlledu i’r Senedd yng Nghymru gyda dim ond 35% yn erbyn. Mae’r bobl yn deall yr angen, ond mae’r Sefydliad yn dewis ei anwybyddu.

Nid oes gwir angen ail-adrodd yr holl broblemau gyda’r gyfundrefn ddarlledu fel y rheolir gan San Steffan ar hyn o bryd, ond dyma ambell i ffaith sy’n amlygu’r broblem:

    • Yn ôl arolwg barn yn 2014, mae llai na hanner poblogaeth Cymru yn sylweddoli bod cyfrifoldeb dros y gwasanaeth iechyd wedi ei ddatganoli: sut mae cynnal democratiaeth ystyrlon yn ein gwlad gyda’r fath anwybodaeth am bwy sy’n atebol am wasanaeth mor bwysig?
    • Mae oriau darlledu ITV Cymru nad sydd yn newyddion wedi syrthio o 4 awr i 1.5 awr yr wythnos dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf;
    • Rhwng 2010 a 2015, gwnaed toriadau o 36% i gyllideb S4C gan Lywodraeth Prydain – arbedodd Llywodraeth Prydain 94% o gyllid yr unig sianel deledu Gymraeg yn y byd;
    • Mae Llywodraeth Prydain nawr yn bwriadu cwtogi cyllid S4C ymhellach dros y blynyddoedd nesaf ac yna diddymu ei grant i’r sianel yn llwyr gan ddisgwyl i’r holl arian ddod o’r ffi drwydded o 2022 ymlaen – dyna fydd diwedd S4C fel darlledwr annibynnol;
    • Mae Cymru yn llawer rhy ddibynnol ar y BBC o ran darlledu cyhoeddus – gyda’r sefyllfa yn gwaethygu wrth i’r gorfforaeth gymryd camau bwriadol i draflyncu S4C, er enghraifft drwy leoli hanner staff y sianel yn swyddfa newydd y BBC yng Nghaerdydd;
    • Prin iawn mae sianeli teledu a gorsafoedd radio masnachol lleol yn darparu rhaglenni Cymraeg, gyda Radio Ceredigion a Radio Carmarthenshire, yn canoli eu darlledu yng Nghaerdydd a Made in North Wales TV yn darlledu dim ond 3% o’u rhaglenni yn Gymraeg.

Rhagor o gynnwys

Mae gyda ni yn y Gymdeithas gynllun am sut y gellid sefydlu system ddatganoledig o ddarlledu yn ein papur – Darlledu yng Nghymru.

Mae’r ymchwil yn dod i’r casgliad y byddai modd gwario dros £60 miliwn yn fwy ar ddarlledu cyhoeddus a sefydlu tair sianel deledu a thair gorsaf radio Gymraeg, os caiff y pwerau eu datganoli i’r Senedd.

Byddai tua £190 miliwn y flwyddyn yn dod yn sgil datganoli’r ffi drwydded i Gymru gyda modd codi ardoll newydd ar gwmnïau megis Google, Sky a Facebook a allai godi hyd at £30 miliwn y flwyddyn, gyda ffigwr tebyg o arian ychwanegol drwy drosglwyddo pwerau i Gymru.

Yn ogystal, byddai modd creu Awdurdod Darlledu newydd i Gymru a fyddai’n rheoleiddio’r cyfryngau yng Nghymru, a fyddai â phwerau a swyddogaeth i normaleiddio’r Gymraeg ar bob llwyfan cyfryngol; i gryfhau’r cyfryngau cymunedol gan arfogi pobol i greu mwyfwy o ddeunydd yn lleol; i gryfhau cynnwys digidol ynghyd â gwella craffu ar ddemocratiaeth Gymreig.

Byddai budd mawr felly o gymryd rheolaeth yng Nghymru er mwyn llunio system ddarlledu a fyddai’n rhoi anghenion Cymru yn ganolog i’w trefniadau.

Dyna pam mae polisi Cymdeithas yr Iaith yn glir: dylid datganoli cyfrifoldeb dros ddarlledu yn ei gyfanrwydd i’r Cynulliad, sef grym rheoleiddio’r holl sbectrwm darlledu, gan gynnwys cyfrifoldeb dros ffi’r drwydded.

Mae’r frwydr hon yn frwydr dros briod iaith Cymru, dros ddemocratiaeth pobol Cymru a thros ein rhyddid ni fel cenedl. Mae sawl ffordd y gallwch chi gefnogi’r ymgyrch:


Heledd Gwyndaf, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith

I have been sentenced by a court today for refusing to pay my TV licence in order to devolve powers over broadcasting to Wales.

And I would like to thank all the people who are supportin the campaign, especially the people who are part of the boycott.

Our strength is that there is now a large group of us who are refusing to pay the fee, and I would encourage other people to consider joining us.

The powers need transferring from Westminster to Wales: our fragile democracy and language are not sustainable otherwise.

Unless there are a variety of strong broadcasters to scrutinise our national Government, Senedd and politicians, the system will not be answerable to, or understood by, the public.

And the Welsh language will not prosper in a British broadcasting system – there are now hundreds of English channels, but still only one Welsh language channel. That’s no change in almost forty years.

Since the establishment of devolution in the Spanish state at the end of the seventies, Catalonia and the Basque Country have had powers over broadcasting.

The impact of that autonomy on the development of broadcasting in both of these nations is clear to see. Catalonia has three radio stations and six television channels – every one broadcasting in the Catalan language – and in the Basque Country the situation is broadly similar with five radio stations and six television channels. It’s a strikingly different situation to ours in Wales.

To people out and about in Wales, the need to devolve broadcasting is obvious – according to an opinion poll by YouGov published last year, 65% of people in Wales favour devolving broadcasting to the Senedd in Wales, with only 35% against. The people understand the need for it, but the establishment chooses to feign ignorance.

There is no need to list here all the failings of the broadcasting system as it is currently governed by Westminster, but here are a few facts that highlight some of the problems:

  • According to a 2014 opinion poll, less than half of the population of Wales realise that responsibility for the health service is devolved: how can we maintain a meaningful democracy in our country when people don’t even know who is responsible for such an important service?
  • ITV Wales’ non-news broadcasting hours have fallen from 4 hours to 1.5 hours a week;
  • Between 2010 and 2015, the UK government made cuts of 36% to S4C’s budget – they withdrew 94% of the funding that used to be given to the world’s only Welsh language television channel;
  • The UK Government now intends to make further cuts to S4C over the next few years and plans to abolish its grant to the channel by 2022 with all the funding coming from the licence fee from then onwards – that will be the end of S4C as an independent broadcaster;
  • Wales is far too dependent on the BBC for public service broadcasting – the situation is worsening as the corporation takes deliberate steps to take over S4C, for example by locating half of the channel’s staff in the BBC’s new Cardiff offices;
  • and Commercial TV channels and local radio stations provide very few programs in Welsh, with Radio Ceredigion and Radio Carmarthenshire centralising their broadcasting in Cardiff, and Made in North Wales TV broadcasting only 3% of their output in Welsh;

And there is worse to come. The UK Government intends to deregulate commercial radio even further – specifically rejecting Ofcom Cymru’s evidence which recommended conditions that news had to report on the devolved government in Wales.

Commercial radio stations like Heart and Nation represent 26% of radio listening hours in Wales, but there won’t be a requirement that those radio services report accurately or comprehensively on how decisions are made that affect people in the country.

That is because of the London-centric attitude of the Department of Culture in Whitehall. There will be even less Welsh language and Welsh content on our airwaves because of a lack of powers in Wales. Weakening our democracy even further.

More Welsh content

Cymdeithas has a plan about how a devolved system could work in our paper – Darlledu yng Nghymru (Broadcasting in Wales: The Case of Devolving Broadcasting).

The paper comes to the conclusion that it would be possible to spend over £60 million more on Welsh public service broadcasting, and to establish three Welsh-language television channels and three radio stations, if powers were devolved to the Senedd.

Around £190 million a year would come to us as a result of devolving the licence fee to Wales, with opportunities to raise a new levy on companies such as Google, Sky and Facebook that could raise up to £30 million a year, with a similar sum from Barnett consequentials.

In addition, it would be possible to create Awdurdod Darlledu Cymru, a broadcasting authority for Wales, that would:

  • Regulate the media, with powers and functions to normalise the Welsh language across all media platforms;
  • Strengthen community media and empower people to create an increasing amount of content locally;
  • Strengthen digital content;
  • Improve the scrutiny and accountability of Welsh democracy.

There is a substantial devolution dividend, with the prize of a broadcasting system that would put the needs of Wales front and centre.

That’s why Cymdeithas’ policy is clear: responsibility for broadcasting in its entirety should be devolved to the Assembly, namely the power to regulate the whole broadcast spectrum, including responsibility for the licence fee.

This battle is a battle for our language, our Welsh democracy and for our freedom as a nation. There are several ways to support the campaign:

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