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Broadcasting future, time for devolution

Dat Darlledu pen 2 llai.JPGA rugby game was played outside the Senedd today ( 12:45pm, 8th November) in the hope that broadcasting powers can be passed to Wales as politicians debate S4C's future.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg launched a call to devolve responsibility for broadcasting to Wales, insisting it's time for Assembly Members to speak out on the issue. The language campaigners will have a statement, which will go across Wales, with the heading "Let us tackle broadcasting here in Wales."

The organisation has raised a number of concerns about the Welsh language's situation in the broadcasting field recently. Threats include Radio Ceredigion getting rid of its Welsh language output, no language protection on the Government's local TV stations, cuts of 40% to S4C's budget and redundancies at BBC Wales.

Bethan Williams, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg said:

"Broadcasting in Wales faces a disastrous future if we don't do someting now. We have seen recently Westminster's attitude towards broadcasting in the way that they ignored Welsh people and the importance of the channel while deciding on its future. The only way to stop these ill-considered decisions in the years to come is ensure that it's not them who tell us what to do. Devolution is what's needed so that we can create a strong Welsh structure which will prioritise our communities.

"It's now time for our Assembly Members to stand up and insist that all the powers over broadcasting come here to Wales, and lobby Westminster until that happens."

Speaking about how the group will use the launch Bethan Williams added:

"It was announced yesterday that the Olympic flame will tour our communities, this statement will also travel around the country, and we will encourage Assembly Members, organisations, unions and people in the industry to sign and raise their voice for the need for Wales to take control over broadcasting."

Speaking about Radio Ceredigion in particular, Adam Jones, a student from Aberystwyth and Cymdeithas broadcasting spokesperson: "As OFCOM tenders for a new radio licence in Ceredigion, there's nothing which says that there needs to be Welsh language provision on the station. After Radio Ceredigion attempted to reduce its Welsh language output earlier this year, we're very concerned that this could happen in an area with so many Welsh speakers.

"Leighton Andrews could show leadership here. Six weeks ago OFCOM and the Language Board had a month to explain their views about local radio. To date we haven't heard anything further and with the situation now urgent, the Minister's delay raises questions about what's happening."

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