Broadcasting and Media
The Covid-19 crisis highlighted the importance of well-funded journalism and news. It also exposed news deserts across Wales, obscuring rather than bolstering the public health messaging of the Welsh Government.
At the same time, we have seen the rapid growth of international television networks that has gone hand in hand with increasing hostility by the UK Government towards the BBC, while at the local level we have seen the weakening of local content in commercial radio and the decline of local newspapers.
We would press for the full devolution of broadcasting and telecommunications to Wales, including regulatory, taxation and financial powers. As a first step, we would:
- Establish a new broadcasting and telecommunications body for Wales independent of government with a remit to include strengthening Wales’ local and national democracy and the Welsh language. The new body will use all the regulatory, financial and other levers available to it in order to fulfil its remit. Its powers will include setting the terms of the next Wales channel 3 license to enhance Welsh media output and ensuring more local and Welsh language content on local television and radio.
- Establish a ‘Menter Ddigidol Gymraeg’ or Welsh language Digital Initative to improve the use and access to the language in a multi-platform age.
- Press for a levy on digital and private providers in order to enhance public service broadcasting and media provision.
- Press for devolution of powers over all Welsh language and English language public service broadcasting, as well as the regulation of commercial radio and local television.
We would establish a Welsh Media Commission to review the current provision of Welsh news and information provision and to explore ways in which it can be better supported and developed at all levels. It would be asked to report within 12 months and will investigate:
- Welsh audience trends in news consumption across television, radio, print and online services.
- International comparisons of media support schemes, with a view to recommending appropriate support mechanisms for media in Wales.
- The potential for support for local and hyper-local journalism that speaks to the sense of community and place.
- The potential for enhancing digital news networks in the English and Welsh languages, and for creating national services that link local and hyper-local newspapers and radio stations producing open-source output.
- A route to conferring ‘asset of community value’ status on local newspapers, ensuring that titles cannot be closed overnight without proper scrutiny.
- Online provision in which there have been encouraging, although disparate initiatives, on which we should try to build.