Veteran Welsh campaigner refuses to pay TV licence to secure devolution of broadcasting

A leading campaigner is to join dozens of others in refusing to pay their TV licence as part of a campaign to devolve control of broadcasting to Wales. 

Emyr Llewelyn, a retired teacher and former leader of a number of language campaign groups, will refuse to pay his TV licence unless Westminster transfers control of broadcasting in Wales to the people of Wales He was jailed in the 1960s for his part in the campaign against the flooding of the Tryweryn valley, near Y Bala.  

In December, Heledd Gwyndaf, chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, announced she and other members of the society were to starting a TV licence boycott. S4C has had its budget cut by 40% since 2010. In Westminster two weeks ago the Minister for Culture, Matt Hancock MP, suggested the UK Government could further reduce their support to the Welsh channel by £700,000 – a 10% reduction – from April.  

Emyr Llewelyn, son of the prolific and popular author of Welsh children's novels, T. Llew Jones, said: "Broadcasting must be devolved in order to protect jobs and the production of original programmes, allowing the creativity of Welsh communities to thrive. It is our voices as the people of Wales who should be heard in the media. If the medium belongs to the people, the devolution of broadcasting is vital in order to release the creativity of the youngsters of all parts of Wales." 

Cymdeithas yr Iaith argues this year's review of S4C is an opportunity to devolve broadcasting, adding that the Wales Officer Minister, Guto Bebb MP, has confirmed the review will have to consider the matter. 

Heledd Gwyndaf, the society's chair, added: "From the lack of Welsh language on commercial radio and local TV and from the damaging cuts to S4C to the under representation of Wales in the media, it's clear that London is not controlling the media in the best interests of the people of Wales. Decisions over the media in Wales need to be made by the people of Wales - it's time to devolve broadcasting." 

"S4C's financial situation has become extremely fragile; the BBC have put on hold their plans for a second Welsh language radio station and there is a severe lack of Welsh language content on local radio and local television. It's also obvious that we have a massive democratic deficit in Wales: London-based broadcasters confuse people every day by reporting on matters that affect England only." 

"Now is the time to ensure we in Wales control our media in the best interests of all Wales' communities. And the public are with us on this. According the cross-party Silk Commission committee, established by the UK Government itself, 60% of the people of Wales are in favour of devolving broadcasting in its entirety to Wales." 

The language group is holding a series of public meetings to promote and discuss the campaign for devolving broadcasting.