A campaigner from Talgarreg, Ceredigion has been ordered to pay £170 by magistrates in Aberystwyth today (Wednesday 10th October) for refusing to pay her TV licence fee as part of campaign for Welsh broadcasting powers.
Parent of three Heledd Gwyndaf is the first, of the over seventy people who are part of the licence fee boycott, to appear in court in a bid to transfer powers over broadcasting from Westminster to Wales.
Last year, campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith presented their proposals for a devolved system of broadcasting. They claim that tens of millions of pounds extra would be available to invest in Welsh content on TV, radio and online through devolution with control over the licence fee and a new tax on big new media businesses like Netflix, YouTube and Facebook.
Speaking after the court case, Heledd Gwyndaf said:
“I'd like to thank everyone who is taking part in this campaign, especially those boycotting the TV licence. This battle is a battle for our language, our Welsh democracy and for our freedom as a nation. Despite all the developments in the media and digital since S4C, there’s still only one full Welsh language TV channel, and little Welsh content online.
“And on top of this, the London-based media is a massive threat to our democracy by failing to discuss Welsh issues and misleading people by referring to education and health issues when their England-only – we in Wales don’t have a clue who’s responsible for what. How is this democratic?"
Cymdeithas estimates that three new Welsh radio stations and three TV channels could be created by devolving broadcasting to Wales, with a budget of £250 million a year for Welsh content.
Ms Gwyndaf added : “Cymdeithas yr Iaith has another offer for the people of Wales: more Welsh language and Welsh broadcasters. It would also empower people to create countless Welsh language online content for every age group and fund it by taxing companies like Netflix, YouTube and Facebook.
“The first step towards this will be the devolution of regulation, so that Ofcom doesn’t tell us what should be important to us as a nation, after all they don’t have a clue. They don’t serve the people of Wales or even pretend to do that."