The general secretary (GS) of the Celtic League has written to the UK Government’s Culture Minister that if the BBC took control of the funding of the Welsh language television channel S4C there `could be a detrimental effect on the Welsh economy’.
The GS comments were based on research published last week and carried out by Cardiff University, which highlighted the fact that S4C’s effect on the Welsh economy was worth £90 million pounds this year alone and that it sustained more than 2100 jobs in the independent television sector and other fields.
In the letter to (UK) Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt, the GS also expressed his concern that if the funding for S4C was passed on to the BBC, then the independence and integrity of S4C would be compromised. The full text of the GS letter can be found below.
“Dear Minister Jeremy Hunt
Future of S4C
I am writing to express our concern following the announcement last month by the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DMCS) that the future funding of S4C should pass entirely to the BBC. We believe that if this happened it would compromise the independence of the Welsh TV channel and we would like the government to review this proposal with immediate effect.
The independence of S4C is necessary in view of the fact that S4C is the only Welsh language television channel in the world and plays a pivotal role in the development of Welsh language programming. We believe that if S4C was tied to the BBC in terms of funding, its broadcasting integrity would be severely compromised, which would include its editorial independence.
In addition, it seems as though the decision to force an unsuitable marriage between S4C and the BBC has been taken with no or little consideration or consultation with the Welsh Assembly Government, the S4C Authority or existing legislation. S4C (and indeed Wales) is being treated like the poor relation in this affair. The proposal demonstrates that the two channels are not seen on an equal basis by the government and that the financial future of the BBC is clearly the government’s priority.
S4C has a hugely beneficial economic impact on Wales, as recent research by Cardiff University shows; this financial benefit to Wales would be undermined if the BBC were to take control of the purse stings of S4C. In short, there could be a detrimental effect on the Welsh economy if S4C funding was controlled by the BBC.
I hope you are able to give your serious consideration to these matters.
Cardiff University Research
This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:
Tel: 0044 (0)1209315884
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information