Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg were very disappointed to hear Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport announce today, as he opened S4C's new headquarters in Carmarthen, that he had never watched the channel.
In response, Heledd Gwyndaf, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith's Digital Future Campaign Group, said that this was both sad and disappointing, but not surprising.
She added: "These comments by the Secretary of State confirm the need for a devolved system of broadcasting. It does not make sense that regulatory and decision-making powers for broadcasting in Wales lie in the hands of another country. It is deplorable that Jeremy Wright has never watched S4C and clearly shows that he – nor any other minister – should be responsible for broadcasting in Wales. We call again on the Government in Westminster to devolve control over broadcasting in Wales, to Wales."
Cymdeithas yr Iaith acknowledges that many positive statements were made in Carmarthen today, such as S4C's Chief Executive announcing a new digital strategy to promote the Welsh language.
However, Heledd Gwyndaf added: "Whilst such statements are to be welcomed, there is an urgent need to devolve regulatory broadcasting powers to Wales thus empowering local people to create and produce material and ensuring that we in Wales are responsible for the broadcasting budget. This would be a truly positive move forward for Wales as a nation – culturally, linguistically and democratically."
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.