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    CYMRU RESERVATION: HEALTH DEVOLVED BUT NOT CASUALTY!

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    David M Barlow/117

    WITH the forthcoming White Paper on UK communications reform expected shortly, Wales finds itself in an unenviable position. Not for the first time, the Principality is peripheral to the decision-making centre in London, its voice on broadcasting matters seemingly subject to the goodwill of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

    With broadcasting a reserved matter, the National Assembly for Wales has no powers in this area, although the DCMS has agreed to consult the Assembly on broadcasting matters of particular relevance to Wales. Apparently, regulatory change in the UK and negotiations over broadcasting in the European Union will fall into this category. The DCMS has also agreed to consult the National Assembly on public appointments to broadcasting organisations. These will include: the BBC National Governor of Wales; the Chair and all Members of the Board of S4C; the National Member for Wales on the ITC; and, a member for Wales on the Broadcasting Standards Commission and the Radio Authority

    However, the notion that a National Assembly for Wales is merely consulted by London on the appointment of Welsh representatives to broadcasting bodies has been rejected by the Welsh Affairs Select Committee in its recent report Broadcasting in Wales and the National Assembly. Responding to suggestions by the Committee that the National Assembly should be making such appointments, the Secretary of State argues that "constitutional niceties" required these appointees to be accountable to the Government as a whole.

    Similarly, suggestions that the Assembly should be responsible for appointments to the Broadcasting Council for Wales were rejected on the grounds that it would involve changes to the BBCs Royal Charter and could jeopardise the BBCs independence. Not so, according to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee. They argue to the contrary, suggesting that appointments by the Assembly would enhance the independence of such bodies, demonstrate that appointees were accountable to the people of Wales, and signify a symbolic shift towards devolution on broadcasting matters.

    More recently, concerns have again been raised about the absence of Welsh voices in key areas of influence. This follows the appointment by Chris Smith (DCMS) and Stephen Byers (DTI) of experts to advise on communications reform. This group includes neither a Welsh representative nor, on the basis of the available biographical information, members who have relevant and recent experience of working in Wales.

    The only apparent - but clearly tenuous - Welsh connection, relates to one of the expert members who is listed as a non-executive director of the Guardian Media Group. GMG Radio Holdings, a company connected with the Guardian Media Group, was recently awarded a new regional Independent Local Radio licence for South Wales. Given the issues to be addressed by the expert group, it is somewhat ironic that GMG Radio Holdings, which is based in Manchester, beat six other applicants - five of whom were from Cardiff or Swansea - to gain a local licence in South Wales.

    However, on a more positive note, an active rather than passive role for the National Assembly to influence UK communications reform is provided by Section 33 of the Government of Wales Act. This Act allows the Assembly to make representations to Westminster on any matter that affects Wales. The opportunity to exercise some influence is reflected in the work of the Post 16 Education and Training Committee at the National Assembly. The Committee is conducting a review into arts and cultural policy - including broadcasting - in Wales. To date, the review has involved a number of meetings between the Committee and representatives of broadcasting bodies in Wales, such as the ITC, S4C, Channel 4, BBC and HTV.

    The primary focus of these meetings has been the switch-over from analogue to digital television, concerns about people in Wales choosing (where they can) to watch television from England, and the convergence between television and the Internet. However, underlying these discussions - and clearly pre-occupying the Committee - is the critical issue of identifying aspects of communications reform which are of particular significance to Wales about which the National Assembly might seek to influence the UK government.

    It was at one of these meetings that representatives of the ITC, S4C, Channel 4, BBC and HTV were asked whether broadcasting matters should be devolved to the Assembly. While most found ways of evading the question, one witness - with tongue in cheek - appeared to relish the invitation to comment, observing how strange it was that health had been devolved but not Casualty! Although prompting some chuckles, the point was not lost on members of the Committee, nor on those in the public gallery.



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    Last modified: Tuesday, November 20, 2001


    Previous government policy stories


    CPBF COMMENTS ON THE COMMUNICATIONS WHITE PAPER
    WHITE PAPER OR WHITE FLAG?
    DTI DCMS Communications White Paper - A new future for communications
    Corporate Media Trends in Europe
    CPBF/Public Voice seminar on media ownership
    JOWELL ANNOUNCES CONSULTATION PAPER ON MEDIA OWNERSHIP
    12 November - Communications revolution: who benefits? Nottingham.
    30 October - Communications revolution: who benefits? Bath.
    30 October - Communications revolution: who benefits? Preston
    Public service broadcasting on the brink
    The Communications Revolution : Who Benefits? (CPBF Pamphlet)
    Response to the Communications White Paper - February 2001
    Additional Submission to the Communications White Paper Reform Team - November 2000
    Comments for the Communications Reform White Paper - 22 June 2000
  • Notices

    Events & Announcements

    Miners strike - Thatcher's lies and still no justice


    DATELINE: 25/3/14
    When the 1984 Cabinet papers concerning the miners strike of 30 years ago, were released this January, a gripping account was laid bare of the secret steps taken by Margaret Thatcher to break the strike, and the lies told to the nation. As the then Prime Minister micromanaged the government's authoritarian response to the strikers, including the brutal police responses, and hiding the truth surrounding the planned number of pit closure, a new book reveals there's still no justice.
    » Read on


    You are invited to a screening of Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary,


    DATELINE: 4/4/14

    A film by STEPHEN VITTORIA (Documentary/USA 2012.Wednesday 30 April 2014 at 6 p.m.School of Law, University of Westminster, 4, Little Titchfield Street, London W1W 7UW.The documentary follows the extraordinary journey of the journalist and revolutionary Mumia Abu- Jamal, who was imprisoned in solitary confinement on death row in Pennsylvania, USA for 30 years.The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q & A.The event is free but RSVP is required. Please RSVP Nicola Laing at N.Laing@westminster.ac.uk  


    Public Meeting Tuesday 29 April


    DATELINE: 31/3/14
    Revealing Truths - Just how free is the press today?
    7.30 pm- 9.00pm
    Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester.
    Speakers: Granville Williams (CPBF)
    Stephen Kingston (Salford Star editor)Free entry.
    Organised by the Mary Quaile Club
    http://maryquaileclub.wordpress.com
    email: maryquaileclub@gmail.com 
    » Read on
    Diary date Saturday 21 June


    DATELINE: 10/3/14
    CPBF Annual General Meeting
    10am – 12.30pm NUJ HQ, 308 Gray's Inn Road
    London  WC1. (Tube/trains Kings Cross/St Pancras.)
    Election of national council, report on activities, debates.
    Deadlines - Nominations for the national council 6 June.
    AGM motions 13 June. Further details CPBF office.
    Email freepress@cpbf.org.uk 
    » Read on
    DOWNLOAD FREEPRESS NOW

    DATELINE: 26/3/10
    Download Freepress in PDF, ePub or mobi format. Issues 197 and 198 are now available in PDF format only.
    » Read on
    MEDIA FOR ALL CONFERENCE

    DATELINE: 26/3/10
    Papers from the Media for All Conference


    MEDIA MANIFESTO

    DATELINE: 26/3/10
    The media’s job is to inform and entertain us but we rely on them too to tell us what our rulers and representatives are up to. In the run-up to the Iraq war the government used spin and disinformation in the media to create panic and mislead people. The truth is coming out now, but we need stronger, more independent media to be able to scrutinise governments and make informed choices.
    » Read on

  • Previous stories

Extras

Campaign blogs:

PCC continues to massage the figures

posted by: Tom Rowland


DATELINE: 20/4/14

Last year the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) received 12,763 complaints, yet its published Monthly Complaint Summaries only record 5,940 cases dealt with – or about 46 per cent of the total.  So how it can claim that 80 per cent of complainants using its service are satisfied with the outcome?...

» Read on


The Miller's tale

posted by: Jonathan Heawood


DATELINE: 5/4/14
Maria Miller (pictured) has been found culpable by an MPs' committee of over claiming expenses on her London home, and of failing to co-operate with the committee's inquiry. She has been asked to apologise to the House of Commons and she has duly apologised, albeit tersely. Her political fate hangs in the balance....

» Read on


London Live goes live

posted by: Jonathan Hardy


DATELINE: 31/3/14
London's new local television channel, London Live is due to launch on the 31st of March. Its owner also owns the city's largest circulation local newspaper and two national newspapers. University of East London's Jonathan Hardy discusses the implications for media plurality arguing that the key question is how the new service will be regulated....

» Read on


Still settling scores

posted by: Granville Williams


DATELINE: 31/3/14
It is always educative to get out and about a bit. I've certainly been doing that this month promoting my new book Settling Scores: The Media, the Police and the Miners' Strike (http://www.cpbf.org.uk//) published for the 30th anniversary of the miners' strike....

» Read on


Newspapers exploit Lawrence case

posted by: Brian Cathcart


DATELINE: 16/3/14

We could be forgiven for thinking it was a default procedure these days at the Daily Mail: when an editorial writer gets to the final few paragraphs about almost any subject, he or she strains to find a way to blame it all on Sir Brian Leveson....

» Read on


Absent voice of Arthur Scargill

posted by: Nicholas Jones


DATELINE: 7/2/14
Margaret Thatcher's cabinet papers for the 1984-5 miners' strike have raised as many questions as answers - not least about the behaviour of the South Yorkshire Police - but once again a missing voice has been that of Arthur Scargill....

» Read on


Euro-electorate in the dark

posted by: Granville Williams


DATELINE: 28/1/14
As the European Elections loom on 22 May 2014 how well-informed will the UK electorate be when they put their crosses on the ballot papers? Not very, I’m afraid....

» Read on


A Pantomime of Deceit and Disinformation

posted by: Julian Petley


DATELINE: 16/12/13
By rejecting the Royal Charter, the majority of the British press has  done exactly the opposite of what it claims it wants to achieve: keep  politicians out of press regulation......

» Read on


Journalists in the dock

posted by: Justin Schlosberg


DATELINE: 6/12/13
A little over two months ago, the Daily Mail ran an editorial describing the leader of the Labour Party's father as 'the man who hated Britain'. Although that article was widely criticised in the broader media and by politicians of all colours, it is difficult to imagine that Keith Vaz would have posed his question had that article never appeared....

» Read on


Justice and journalism both on trial

posted by: Nicholas Jones


DATELINE: 29/11/13
Independent front page October 2013As the prosecution continues to present its evidence at the Old Bailey in the case alleging phone hacking and the bribing of public officials, it is becoming increasingly clear that not only is British justice on trial but also journalism itself....

» Read on


Lobbyists: seven key myths

posted by: Tamasin Cave, Spinwatch


DATELINE: 20/11/13
This month's Lords debate on the Lobbying Bill included a statement by Lord Wallace for the government on why it is refusing to introduce a more comprehensive register of lobbyists....

» Read on


How Twitter tames the Mail

posted by: Nicholas Jones


DATELINE: 29/10/13
While the Daily Mail's editor Paul Dacre continues to lick his wounds after a mauling at the hands of what he derides as the "Twitter mob", his headline writers have had no alternative but to accept the power of social media....

» Read on


When Harry Met Rupert

posted by: Barry White


DATELINE: 28/10/13
Rupert MurdochOn 22 October I went to hear the House of Lords' Communications Comm- ittee take evidence on media plurality from Sir Harold Evans, former editor of The Times and Sunday Times. He was followed by representatives from the Media Reform Coalition and the internet campaigning organisation Avaaz....

» Read on


"How much?" "What's it worth?": Murdoch's local news legacy

posted by: Nicholas Jones


DATELINE: 21/10/13

Across the country local press reporters will have every reason to reflect on the long-term impact of Rupert Murdoch's forty-year stewardship of some of Britain's most popular daily and Sunday newspapers....

» Read on


Digital audience for local press heralds a financial 'tipping point' in advertising revenue

posted by: Nicholas Jones


DATELINE: 14/10/13

After a decade or more of cuts and job losses a growing digital audience is holding out the prospect that local newspapers might soon be reaching a tipping point when online income outweighs the loss of print advertising....

» Read on


Did 'fact finder' Lord Justice Leveson overlook cash payments for news stories?

posted by: Nicholas Jones


DATELINE: 11/10/13
In one of the tetchiest exchanges during a select committee hearing before MPs, Lord Justice Leveson refused to get drawn into the way some tabloid newspapers continue to promise pay for information for news stories – a practice which represents one of the starkest ethical divides among British journalists....

» Read on


McBride's willing accomplices escape scrutiny

posted by: Nicholas Jones


DATELINE: 7/10/13
All too many political journalists were as complicit as the ex-spin doctor Damian McBride in helping to propagate his smear stories about the ministerial colleagues and opponents of the former Chancellor and Prime Minister Gordon Brown....

» Read on


The enemies within at the BBC

posted by: Victor Noir


DATELINE: 22/9/13
The name of the operation is Rock the BBC. Bother them, get them on Prozac, looking over their shoulders all the time. MPs and government and rival media are at it all the time....

» Read on


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Events & announcements


You are invited to a screening of Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary,


DATELINE: 4/4/14

A film by STEPHEN VITTORIA (Documentary/USA 2012.Wednesday 30 April 2014 at 6 p.m.School of Law, University of Westminster, 4, Little Titchfield Street, London W1W 7UW.The documentary follows the extraordinary journey of the journalist and revolutionary Mumia Abu- Jamal, who was imprisoned in solitary confinement on death row in Pennsylvania, USA for 30 years.The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q & A.The event is free but RSVP is required. Please RSVP Nicola Laing at N.Laing@westminster.ac.uk  


Public Meeting Tuesday 29 April


DATELINE: 31/3/14
Revealing Truths - Just how free is the press today?
7.30 pm- 9.00pm
Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester.
Speakers: Granville Williams (CPBF)
Stephen Kingston (Salford Star editor)Free entry.
Organised by the Mary Quaile Club
http://maryquaileclub.wordpress.com
email: maryquaileclub@gmail.com 
» Read on
Diary date Saturday 21 June


DATELINE: 10/3/14
CPBF Annual General Meeting
10am – 12.30pm NUJ HQ, 308 Gray's Inn Road
London  WC1. (Tube/trains Kings Cross/St Pancras.)
Election of national council, report on activities, debates.
Deadlines - Nominations for the national council 6 June.
AGM motions 13 June. Further details CPBF office.
Email freepress@cpbf.org.uk 
» Read on
DOWNLOAD FREEPRESS NOW

DATELINE: 26/3/10
Download Freepress in PDF, ePub or mobi format. Issues 197 and 198 are now available in PDF format only.
» Read on
MEDIA FOR ALL CONFERENCE

DATELINE: 26/3/10
Papers from the Media for All Conference


MEDIA MANIFESTO

DATELINE: 26/3/10
The media’s job is to inform and entertain us but we rely on them too to tell us what our rulers and representatives are up to. In the run-up to the Iraq war the government used spin and disinformation in the media to create panic and mislead people. The truth is coming out now, but we need stronger, more independent media to be able to scrutinise governments and make informed choices.
» Read on