NEWS FROM THE MANNIN BRANCH CELTIC LEAGUE
Some of ‘the folks on the head’ seem a tad irritated by recent postings critical of the stations expansion plan and seem to have conflated this to some sort of anti MR vendetta.
However CL and specifically CL (Mannin) have been nothing but consistent over the years in that we believe funding for the station and indeed other media services can be adequately accommodated via the very substantial licence fee that the IOM currently pays to the United Kingdom. Indeed why does the IOM effectively pay a broadcast tax to the UK the legislative origins of which are uncertain?
Three years ago the League lined up with Station Manager (A Pugh) and the then Chair of MR (D North) over the issue. The extract below is from a CL news post in May 2013. You will see from the extract to a select committee now part of the Tynwald record that indeed it was the stations Chairman who first espoused fears over its independence and used the term ‘government mouthpiece’ which was echoed in Tynwald this week by Eddie Teare but not accurately attributed!
“Mr North told the committee there was one fundamental question he would like to pose.
`The question is a quite simple one – is Manx Radio a public service broadcaster or are we are state broadcaster?
`In other words are we like the BBC or are we like Syrian radio, no more than a government mouthpiece? Editorially we’ve always thought of ourselves as a public service broadcaster but in my opinion, against all the intentions of Tynwald, regrettably we have become a state broadcaster incapable of determining our own future by virtue of our structure.’
North (a former MHK/MLC and government Minister) and the Managing Director of Manx Radio, Antony Pugh, went on to outline a scenario where the station was given BBC funding similar to the arrangement which operates for S4C in Wales.
Manx Radio has recently had its subvention from the Manx government cut and the stations revenue (it operates on a quasi-commercial basis) has fallen – hence the outburst from Messrs North and Pugh.
The Celtic League has consistently said that the Manx government should retain licence fees paid to the UK (currently around £5 million pounds) to fund a range of domestic broadcast services including audio and visual media. However a Tynwald committee which considered the matter recently failed to grasp the nettle and the BBC continues to rip-off Manx residents by levying its full licence fee and failing to provide the same service it gives to other National areas in the UK.
There is perhaps the chance that North’s choice of provocative language before this select committee may wake them up to the fact that the issue needs to be addressed.”
Sadly neither the select committee nor Tynwald did ‘wake up’ hence Manx Radio finds itself a captive in the fiscal embrace of ‘the folks on the hill’ who incidentally set up the ‘ring fenced’ funding regime which is currently attracting a degree of opprobrium. Someone on the administrative side of the stations regime, should have realised this would come back to haunt them.
Photo: League DOI – Bernard Moffatt – outside Manx Radio which the League has said for years (together with other media services) should be funded by the broadcast licence.
Issued by: The Mannin Branch Celtic League
THE CELTIC LEAGUE
The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries including our own Mannin branch. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues
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