Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Digital Wales

The future of plurality in the Welsh media has recently been called into question by the Assembly Communities & Culture Committee.

There’s a great deal of concern that the BBC has obtained a near-monopoly on news coverage in Wales.

Today the British Government published its White Paper: Digital Britain.

As a part of it the Culture Secretary proposed spending some of the money left over from the digital switchover on funding regional news pilot schemes in an English region, Scotland and in Wales between now and the next licence fee settlement in 2013.

That could mean funding ITV Wales with what is effectively public money.

The Assembly Culture Committee had a similar idea but they wanted a £25m independent commission, funded by a mixture of a levy on non Public Service Broadcast providers, lottery funding and public money from the Welsh and UK governments.

The difference between the two? Well for one under the Assembly’s plan the Assembly would have more control over Welsh media (which isn’t a devolved area).

Either way this could well see an end to commercial TV as we know it in Wales…

There’s undoubtedly a value to having more than one TV news provider in a country but will either of these proposals solve the problem we find ourselves facing?

Dewi Tri

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2 comments:

Rob said...

The fundamental question here is whether or not top-slicing the licence fee (thus threatening the independence of the BBC) is the correct way to fund local and regional broadcasting. I would argue not. A 1% levy applied to Virgin Media and Sky would result in a windfall of over £70 million. Sufficient to fund great in improvements through a Welsh Media Commission. This was outlined in a recent Bectu report.

Sweet and Tender Hooligan said...

The question is where are those in Plaid Cymru who believe Y Byd was still a good idea?