London: S4C Cuts Protest



The future of S4C came under close scrutiny yesterday (Friday 10th September) as executives from the Welsh language TV service met with the UK Culture Minister.

Both the Chairman and interim Chief Executive from S4C were summoned to London to explain why an increasing number of Welsh language speakers were failing to tune in to programmes being shown on the channel. Although finances were notthought to have been discussed at yesterday’s meeting, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) do nevertheless have to plan for a massive cut
in its own budget, which will in turn have a knock on effect on S4C’s current £101 million budget. It is expected that S4C’s finances could be cut by 24%.

Protesters from Cymdeithas yr Iaith (the Welsh Language Society) gathered outside the DCMS building and greeted the Minister of Culture on his way to the meeting, who then spoke with the demonstrators for a few minutes. After the meeting the S4C bosses then went on to speak with Welsh MP’s to discuss the future of the channel and Cymdeithas members also met up with supportive Plaid and Labour MP’s for further discussions.

In April 2010 Cymdeithas members met with the leader of the Conservatives in Wales, Nick Bourne who told them:

“…we have strongly supported S4C in the past and we will in the future…we are totally committed to the funding of S4C as in the past.”

The people of Wales will have to wait to see if the Conservatives – who are now in power in Westminster – are as good as their word, but cuts to the S4C budget do look likely regardless of what was said in the past. How this affects the quality of Welsh language television broadcasting remains to be seen.

In the other Celtic countries Celtic language programmes have also suffered. In Brittany, Breton language programmes have all but now disappeared on TV Breizh since its launch ten years ago. In Ireland, TG4 -established in 1996 – experienced budget cuts in 2009 and in Scotland, the head of the Gaelic channel BBC Alba said early this year that he needs more money to create new programmes and to avoid repeats. The Isle of Man and Cornwall however do not have their own respective language TV stations.


This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:

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