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.
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.