Monday, 23 November 2009

Welsh democracy suffering due to media cutbacks

by Luke James
Cymru X Vice-Chair

I have just returned from a challenging week at the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) conference in Southport.

The conference was dominated by the subject of cutbacks and the effect that was having on democracy.

In many places whole papers are being lost and in others massive staffing cut backs were leaving the journalists left with just enough time to re-write press releases.

Journalists being left with no time to investigate, question and dig for stories. This leads to government at every level being left unchallenged and able to present the public with their version of accounts.

How can a reader tell who is telling the truth if there is not a journalist, an expert, involved to sift through what politicians are saying for the relevant facts and mistruths.

It would be like having Nick Griffin on Question Time again but this time gagging the audience, the media is not there to provide parties, including our own, with 24/7, 365 days a year party political broadcasts.

If the situation was bleak in England, Scotland, Ireland, France and the other nations the NUJ has members in it seems the situation in Wales is critical.

As someone living in the South it seems only the Western Mail stands between us and spin becoming king as far as papers go.

Adrian Masters and co do their bit at the BBC, but Welsh political output on the tv amounts to an hour a week, probably less, and there has been cutbacks at BBC Wales which has no doubt effected BBC Radio Cymru and Wales.

The purpose of Plaid is to nurture Welsh culture and end our reliance on London.

Well if there is anything that needs nurturing right now, it's the media in Wales. Infact replace nurturing for drastic surgery and not of the plastic sort.

We need a thriving Welsh media to uphold democracy, bring government closer to the people it's there to serve and where necesary expose failings.

If we are serious about building this nation we cannot let the Welsh media die, there can be no independent Wales without an independent Welsh media.

The fightback has already begun at NUJ Wales:

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