I’m going without food for a week to bring control over broadcasting to Wales

Elfed Wyn Jones

Elfed Wyn Jones

Next week I’m going to be living without any food, and any drink apart from tap water, as part of a campaign to bring control over broadcasting to Wales.

According to the results of a YouGov survey last year, 65% of people in Wales support giving broadcasting powers to the Assembly while only 35% want politicians in Westminster to retain the power.

Democracy isn’t going to work in Wales if the people of the nation don’t know what is going on at their parliament, and if our elected representatives don’t know what the people want.

Unfortunately, because of a lack of media scrutiny of the Welsh Government and Assembly, we lack a public forum where this information can be shared and discussed.

Although the internet is now popular an awful lot of people still get their news from TV and radio, and news about Wales is largely invisible there.

For example, the NHS is a completely devolved matter to Wales, yet 50% of the people of Wales still believe it is run by the Westminster administration.

This is mainly because the news is framed in a UK context where there is little distinction between the UK and its largest constituent part, England.

Because of a lack of a Welsh perspective in the news, we have a lack of discussion of the problems facing Wales and, as a result, a lack of ambition when it comes to tackling those problems.

Wales has unique problems that are not shared by the rest of the UK, but at the moment we don’t represent a large or wealthy enough part of the UK so that these questions are tackled by London or Manchester-based journalists.

We as a county can’t move towards our goals without voices that are critical of our Government, but that also explain to us how the system works, and note what is devolved – such as agriculture, health, and education – and the things that are not, such as the legal system.

Demonstration

The best example of Wales-focused broadcast journalism we have at the moment is S4C’s Newyddion 9. But since only 20% of the population speak Welsh the other 80% are left without such a much-needed service.

The devolution of broadcasting would also, however, create more opportunities for the Welsh language to flourish on out televisions and radio.

It is only through the kind of scrutiny that the devolution of broadcasting would bring that we could solve the problems that would allow us to build a better way of life for many of our disadvantaged people.

If you would like to support my campaign please write to your local AM and AS by letter so they’ll support this vital change for our Country.

On the 12:00 on the 27th of February there will be a small demonstration outside the Senedd to end the week of fasting and to show support for the debate in the Senedd, so please join us in support.

I hope that my action will show just how serious the need for Wales to have control over broadcasting is.

I accept my responsibility for taking the action – not in order to force the authorities or anyone else, but in order to encourage others to accept their responsibility.

The time has long come for our Assembly Members to accept their responsibility, and for us, the people of Wales, to accept responsibility for insisting that decisions about the media in Wales are made by the people of Wales.

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Gwilym ab Ioan
Guest

That is an extremely noble gesture on your behalf Elfed, and I hope it draws attention to the blatant unfairness of the problem. Well done and thank you. However, I fear your ribs will protrude out of your skin before anything is done in the colonial environment we live in. The ONLY total and long term solution is absolute independence, and thereafter a government that is not run by any party that is a branch of a London based political group. We are being airbrushed out of existence on all fronts – including the machinations of the mainstream UK media.… Read more »

ERNEST
Guest
ERNEST

Actually, It could be more effective if you try to get the attention of Afsrin Rattansi of ‘Going Underground’. He may invite you in for interview on his RT.com program.
You could also consider getting in contact with ex-SNP leader Alex Salmon, who has his own show on RT.
They will then have to take notice !!

Wrexhamian
Guest
Wrexhamian

But independence can only be achieved when the majority favour it, and while they are in ignorance of the true nature of Welsh politics, many will settle for winning the Six Nations. Wales needs control of its broadcasting first, so that issues relevant to Wales can be debated, before there can be a groundswell of public opinion against the status quo. So Welsh control of informed broadcasting is an essential first step, and therefore young Elfed’s crash diet will not be a futile gesture but an important symbolic one, I feel.

Gwilym ab Ioan
Guest

Fair comment Wrexhamian. Trapped in a classic ‘Catch 22’ clause situation then?

jh1950
Guest
jh1950

Good luck with the hunger strike, although I can’t see that Westminster will give up its powers on broadcasting easily they want to keep control of information and have pretty well intimidated the BBC into a neutered puppy.
I am in favour of total devolvement, and that means independence for Wales so that we can control our destiny (good or bad).
But I certainly do not relish the notion of Welsh language broadcasts outside of S4C.

Wrexhamian
Guest
Wrexhamian

Why not have new Welsh as well as English home-grown broadcasting, as long as it’s about Wales and not more bread and circuses? What better way to help the rebirth and growth of the Welsh language?

Those million speakers are going to need something grown-up to listen to instead of Strictly Come Baking, or whatever it’s called.

Fi
Guest
Fi

While I agree that broadcasting should be devolved, I think this is just grandstanding. I suppose it’s at least longer than Kinnock’s pitiful 24-hour ‘hunger strike’. I think it just shows a lack of respect for the sacrifices of revolutionaries, such as Pedro Luis Boitel and Potti Sreeramula, who died for what they believed in while fasting.

Hedd
Guest
Hedd

Have you ever tried going for a full week without anything but water? It is extremely serious and certainly isn’t grandstanding. If you agree with the cause or not, show some respect.

Brian ap Francis
Guest

Once again, the inferiority complex comes to the fore. What are BBC Wales, ITV Wales, S4C, Radio Wales, Radio Cymru for?

gwilymabioan
Guest
gwilymabioan

True about the ‘inferiority’ complex coming to the surface – it’s evident everywhere and is the the product of the ‘Victor and Vanquished syndrome’. What are BBC Wales, ITV Wales, S4C, Radio Wales, Radio Cymru for? Simple – to be the propaganda puppets of the establishment based on the other side of Clawdd Offa. To promote the English Empire and to hide it’s satellite nations out of sight. Ask yourself, how much have you heard today about what has gone on in Scotland, Cymru or Ireland? Or even mainland Europe (Brexit mania exempted). Then ask yourself how much you’ve heard… Read more »

Brian ap Francis
Guest

I have found the broadcasters fairly well balanced across the U.K. However I may be judging this under my criterion which is “It should be newsworthy in Wales if news of the same value is newsworthy anywhere else in the U.K.”

sianiflewog
Guest
sianiflewog

Elfed Wyn Jones – da iawn chi!!! Hope it goes well, and that you don’t 1) get too cold, and 2) yu don’t spend all your time dreaming about food (i did something similar years ago). Just how the ff****Q do you/do i/do we make any impression on our democratically elected representatives . . . ? And our frustration and feelings of impotence are the mirror to our society. They don’t give a Q . . . fF (excuse the language). We are allowed to vote, but nothing changes. Will someone please tell me what i have to do to… Read more »

Brian ap Francis
Guest

I don’t excuse expletory bad language. If contributors use it, then it very much dilutes the message that they are trying to convey to the extent that it gives them little credibility.

Gwilym ab Ioan
Guest

Ever come across the term freedom of speech of the individual Brian? Who are we to judge others based on the language they choose to express themselves through? It is none of my business and none of yours. It is the right of choice of the individual. I personally don’t use expletive words that I think may cause others to feel uncomfortable. However whether others do that is entirely up to them. If I don’t like those words then I have the freedom not to read them. Who actually wrote the rules and made them into law when it comes… Read more »

Brian ap Francis
Guest

Freedom of speech is one thing.Language like yours (although nowhere near the worst that I have witnessed) on these exchanges is quite another that most reasonable people would abhor. You aren’t the only one though.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

The worn out cloths
Rags and holes,
The feelings of the empty, unstiched,
Left in open fields
Where only the cold wind blows,
And the wooden gate lies closed.
It’s where we rest, on pillows of iron cast,
The chains steadfast,
Locking our rusted dreams.
O sigh at our begging ways,
Will they ever change,
Never in Wales
It’s always been this way.
But of our youth,
Will we be forever young,
And follow in the sun
Of our golden days
Yet to come.

Carnabwth
Guest

It will give the campaign a little publicity I think so that would be good.

Elfed,

Are you going to give us an update regarding your petition?

Mabon Tseina
Guest
Mabon Tseina

Da iawn Elfed. Mae Abraham yn meddwl am ti o Dseina.

sianiflewog
Guest
sianiflewog

Well, here’s one reason we need a non-british perspective media: i’m not really interested in sport, but have to listen to it on Rad 4 nuze).: Of course team Uk ar doing grate guns with their 2 brass medels: that’s all you get off Rad 4 and raydeo d istablisment, so, one sianiflewog got another perspectives: nuze on yahoo.de: seems like team deutschland has got nine golds (bite yaw evil blakc heart out Ffarridge!!): and even Aboriginalia has got more than the English. Elfed – pob hwyl efo’r ymgyrch – we need an independent, objective and non-british empire vuew of… Read more »

Robert Williams
Guest
Robert Williams

I think I can see, hear, sense an elephant lurking in this particular room. The question avoided amid all the sometimes expletory and usually inept rhetoric is: regardless of who owns/controls/finances them, how do we persuade the mass of Welsh residents to pay attention to media that feature Welsh affairs? If S4C, BBC Cymru & BBC Wales were devolved and, by some miracle, adequately funded from tomorrow, how could we persuade people in large numbers to tune to them rather than Radio 1, 2, and all the commercial music channels? How to divert mass attention from the S*n, D***y M**l… Read more »

Brian ap Francis
Guest

The question to be addressed is “Is that what the media actually wants?” Where is the evidence?

Wrexhamian
Guest
Wrexhamian

That’s a very important question, Robert. But it seems based on the premise that the majority of Welsh people are mindless cattle. There are enough people in this country who want to know what’s going on in this country, and the novelty value alone of an informed channel, in English if necessary, would be enough to capture an audience. The public wants what the public gets, as The Jam said.

The Western Mail is part of the problem, by the way.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

Ye who controls the air waves controls the masses. Simple exploitation. By propaganda.

Robert Williams
Guest
Robert Williams

Thanks to Brian, Graham and Wrexhamian for their responses to my little rant. Brian, I’m afraid I didn’t understand yours. And Graham, I fear yours didn’t enlighten me much; do you advocate that we somehow forcibly take over the airwaves and use them for OUR propaganda, or are you just making a rather airy general observation? Wrexhamian, I don’t think I said anything implying that Welsh people are either mindless or cattle. But I’m very sceptical about how successful even the best-run Welsh-orientated media might be at attracting the attention of the great number of people in Wales whose eyes,… Read more »

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

There has been an unequal treatment of Welsh matters since the medieval times. The erosion of its language culture and identity. It’s orchestrated subliminal messages of inferiority and dependency is alive and well. It’s not just exploitation of resources, it’s exploitation of who we are. Part of an unequal Union. A lower category of citizen who has ‘lean to’ tendencies and hangs in to old traditional values of obedience to the colonial rule. We will never have equal status if constantly fed this line where Westminster is best to decide outcomes of national interest. Where voice Wales is unrecognised. Where… Read more »

jh1950
Guest
jh1950

I agree, Have you read the book Neighbours from Hell by Mike Parker? If not get a copy it is an unlikely page-turner but a page-turner it is and an excellent lesson in Anglo-Welsh history

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

Thanks jh1950. I really could do with some humour and witty expressions, from it seems , a well thought of book. No I didn’t know about it. Centuries of opprobrium. Um .’ Something that’s brings disgrace’. Sounds like a must read since the author Mike Parker, boastfully recounted of the the plethora of material available. I sure there is. It’s published by y Lolfa. I have an account there from some recent purchases so I will contact tomorrow.
Have a peaceful Sunday!

sibrydionmawr
Guest

Western Mail worthy? I’ve heard it called a lot of things in my time, and I’ve certainly read it often enough in the past, but as John Jenkins once described it, it’s “the paper that nobody wants, but everyone has to have” I guess he was referring to the Welsh context, and to a time when the Wasting Mule, or Daily Wail or Llais y Sais at least made some effort to present Welsh news. The Sun, the Daily Mail etc are clearly lobotomised, but the Western Mail is pretty much brain dead these days. One model that could be… Read more »

Brian ap Francis
Guest

I am sorry that you don’t understand. What I am trying to ask is that if there was a demand for Wales to be in charge of broadcasting in Wales, in the manner suggested, how is this known? What is the evidence to make such a claim? Who has been asked? Personally I am OK with the balance between Wales and the rest of the U.K.

Gwilym ab Ioan
Guest

Oh dear, totally hypnotised by BritNat propaganda I fear. I suppose you also believe that the mystical country called Englandandwales also exists in reality? “There are none as blind as those who do not want to see” Brian. Try a bit of therapy on alternative news media outlets. Perhaps it’ll ease the scales from your eyes, by realising that the UK mainstream media is not the reflection of reality that you perceive it to be. There’s a phrase for it you know – COLONIAL PROPAGANDA. They feed it to the natives, instead of the natives getting exposed to reality within… Read more »

Brian ap Francis
Guest

That’s rather disingenuous isn’t it. I have been around for a large number of years and brainwashed is a term I attribute to dangerous extremists. I hope you aren’t one. What exactly is it that you want media broadcasters to do? My Country is the U.K. and Wales, where I reside,is a is part of the U.K.and a great place to be. If you think that broadcasters don’t do justice to Wales, say why,. What do you think is “reality?”

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

That’s reasonable for you to think the balance between Wales and the rest if the UK is fair, but others might not. The fight for the our own dedicated news channels ( S4C) has not been easy, and its funding continues to be so. The fight is for justice. That’s another matter.

Brian ap Francis
Guest

Don’t you think that the resource afforded to S4C and for that matter Radio Cymru are proportional to the subscriber figures? Funds are limited to mainstream channels as well as Welsh only channels and these have to demonstrate a sense of proportion. And no I have nowt to do with the BBC.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

Again that’s perfectly reasonable Brian to feel for a balance in use and value for money. I do use these channels frequently. There is a place for minority audiences. You have deliberately chosen S4C, although there is a bilingual service for most programmes. It’s not exclusive. It’s widely available. I guess there are other channels, programmes that don’t attract great audiences. On television and radio. Come to think of it I greatly feel the considerable money paid out to maintain a second chamber through the House of Lords is unnecessary. I think this list can be endless. If everything was… Read more »

Wrexhamian
Guest
Wrexhamian

No, Brian, you’re right, of course; there has never been an instance of large numbers of people in any member-country of the UK demanding a new television or radio channel – except one: S4C, Do you remember those campaigns? Yes, of course, everybody does. Nor has there been a publicly-monitored demand for new TV channels elsewhere in the UK; we wake up, and suddenly they’re there! There is, however, a demand for Wales to be in charge of broadcasting in Wales. I cite as evidence one individual among many – Elfed Wyn Jones (he of the hunger strike). But most… Read more »

apgras
Guest
apgras

Parch. I’d like to challenge anyone who strongly opposes S4C/Cymraeg etc etc, then if you feel strongly enough – please feel free to equal this young man’s principled stance. I am certain, there wouldn’t be anyone willing to do so. Julian *uck possibly.. Brian, can I just give you an example of how different the standard of journalism between S4C and BBC News Wales. During the referendum in Cataluyna, S4C provided some of the best journalism & current affairs programme of recent times. On S4C news you had live reporting, guest Catalan speakers who’d also learnt Cymraeg, ex pats who’d… Read more »

Robert Williams
Guest
Robert Williams

Many thanks to Brian for explaining his contribution that I’d been too dim to understand. In the light of this, I think our views are not too far apart. For me the real question is, would devolution of power over and responsibility for media in Wales lead to people in Wales paying more attention to them, and thus to what is going on in their own country? I’d be delighted to think it would, but as in all fields we must be led by evidence.

Davydh Trethewey (@MawKernewek)
Guest

Devolution of broadcasting powers hasn’t been done in the UK before, so what evidence is there? Does anyone have any positive examples from elsewhere in the world? With BBC and ITV Wales, they are treated as branch offices of the British (English) Broadcasting Corporation or ITV and although lip service is paid to Wales being a nation, it is in actuality treated as a region on a par with East Anglia, or North East [of England] and Cumbria, rather than an actual country. Even Radio Cymru really feels more like it fits into the ‘local radio’ box rather than being… Read more »

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

There is always life by association. It begins from early years. Rhymes, stories, pictures, news, language, friends, family, and those places you visit. It’s like pieces of a jigsaw of building blocks that ferment as the years advance. It’s the idea of creation. Creation of self. Yet at the very time you build through association of norms that surround you must ensure you ‘fit’ into what this micro society seeks to protray and reflect. The plummy English tones of the BBC will resonate with me for ever. The dress, speak, styles, TV soaps, entertainment, the list is endless. All pushing… Read more »

Glenn Swingler
Guest
Glenn Swingler

very very well done. Devolution of media is most definitely one of the most important issues affecting Wales today.
very proud of you.