Wednesday, 9 June 2010

No News from Wales Then.

When S4C began broadcasting, I naively believed that this would lead to the other broadcasters producing more programmes in English on Welsh themes. This sadly never happened and even on St David’s Day the output from what we now call the terrestrial channels has been poor in most case, and often as not non existent.

It is true that BBC Wales has recent years produced many more programmes on a Welsh theme, but all too often they seem to confuse a programme “Made in Wales” for one “About Wales” and the news that the next series of Torchwood will be less Cardiff centric points to interference from London.Nether the less there has been a programme increase but one can only watch Derrick Brockway climbing Pen-y-Fan only so many times.

Programmes on Channels 4 & 5 have been almost non-existent though 5 did show the Philip Madoc series "A Mind to Kill". Which ITV turned down.

But the biggest disappointment has always been the former HTV Wales. Even in its heyday it produced very little “Welsh” programmes or even any other programmes and was embarrassingly outshone by HTV West (which made Robin of Sherwood amongst others). But since the merger with ITV plc and its renaming ITV (Wales) things have got worse and one rarely sees programmes about Wales these days and certainly no drama.

Indeed, I used to be annoyed with the TV guide from the Sunday newspapers being based on output from London and having to scan the regional list,but these days there is virtually no difference.

Then ITV bosses began to plan to end “regional” news citing cost. But in the mist of the gloom there would be some provision for out put of news on the channel about Wales.

However a pilot scheme to provide a replacement news service for ITV Wales is to be scrapped,. The UK culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said that it would be "inappropriate" to spend scarce public money propping up expensive regional news services.

This is appalling. It is time all terrestrial broadcasters realise that they should at least accommodate reports of Welsh news. But ITV, and the UK government have an especially  moral duty to ensure that the people of Wales know what their government in Wales is doing.

The realty of devolution means that in many issues there is no single “British context” and the failure for instance of the London news to fail to mention that Health or Education decisions only refer to England are unforgivable.

The Con-Lib government have fallen at the first hurdle on this and it shows the indifference the leaders of the coalition Parties have for Wales and does not bode well for the future.

We need a urgent review on Terrestrial broadcasting with the regions and (more importantly) the Nations of these Islands failure to do so would threaten our democratic process/

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