"The arms that you wield now are not such as your forefathers wielded; but they are infinitely more effective, and infinitely more irresistable" ~ Cymru Fydd leaflet, 1890

Friday, 2 March 2012

Is there such a thing as Welsh media?

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It's 2012, 90% of people own a mobile phone. Unless you own one of those jumbo button phones you can only get in the back of the Daily Mirror for your Mamgu then they should all have internet access.

Smart phone ownership is up to 50% and accounts for 70% of all sales so this figure is only going to go up. Free or inclusive data are standard on most tariffs, even the cheapest ones that are around a tenner a month.

So why then, with the entire world at our very finger tips do we insist on spending more money on media propaganda disguised as Welsh media?

Regular readers will by now realise that this site has an agenda, it's not a secret agenda, it's mentioned everywhere. It's on the mission statement, it's on the facebook page and it's on the twitter profile. And that's assuming the name Welsh not British in massive text at the top of each page wasn't a big enough clue.

But this site is free to access and isn't secretive about it. Neither I suppose is the BBC, after all it does stand for the British Broadcasting Corporation who are owned by our old friends The Crown and based in London. You did know it was owned by The Crown right? (Well I didn't before I started this article).

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So when Jason Mohammad is having one of his usual phone ins on Radio Wales about how nobody really wants Welsh independence, or really important debates about plastic bags or whatever he's told to talk about then never forget who is paying his wages and that the guests he has on his panel also have agendas. Especially if his guests are the leader of The Welsh Conservatives, or a spokesperson from the "unoffical" No Campaign for the 2011 referendum. The BBC also owns Radio Cymru and have been forced to take on a greater share of the funding for S4C by the Westminster government.

And as always, He who pays the piper, calls the tune. Except that isn't strictly true in this case because we are the ones paying the piper through the TV License Fee and unless you don't own a TV, computer or phone that isn't capable of watching or recording live shows then you need to pay the real piper, or risk a heavy fine.

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So the BBC output is dictated to by it's London pay masters and this is true for all of it's TV and Radio. But we have independent radio stations, we even have ITV. True, but these are funded by sponsors and so they have to appease them. Even if “Wales' biggest commercial radio station”, Real wasn't owned by GMG (who are based in Manchester) their sponsors would still dictate their output or they would take their adverts elsewhere.

Maybe they would take it to Nation Radio or one of the other small local Town and Country Broadcasting stations with their anti-Welsh “corporate streamlining” policies.

Maybe they could take them to Swansea Sound (UTV – Belfast), Capital (Formerly Red Dragon) (Global – London), or one the many smaller stations that are either owned by one of the companies I have mentioned or are small community stations.

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Failing that they could take it to one of the many Welsh newspapers or their online versions.

The most famous Welsh newspaper is The Western Mail and it's online equivalent Walesonline. Based in Cardiff. Both owned by TrinityMirror, owners of The Daily Mirror. They also own other “Welsh” newspapers such as The South Wales Echo, (same link as Wales online) and the North Wales edition of The Liverpool Post, not heard of that one? It commonly goes under the name of The Daily Post.

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What about the Evening Post then, based in Swansea. Correct, but if you look beyond the conveniently named South West Wales Publications name you will see it's a front for Northcliffe Media which in turn is a front for The Daily Mail.

So whether you buy the Evening Post, Carmarthen Journal, Llanelli Star or just scan through the free Herald you might as well be reading through The Daily Mail.

On my internet travels I found some links you may be interested in, this one shows you the front pages of the nationals. This one gives you a list of the Welsh papers, broken down by county. They may not all be accurate. The Daily Mail owned “This is South Wales” is shown as Carmarthenshire when it should be listed as Swansea.

This last one is the best of the lot and well worth bookmarking, it also has links to the BBC regional news stories as well as Welsh language publications.

Earlier I spoke of agendas and I will bring the subject up again. The agenda for this web site is to engage the readers and to make them question why things are the way they are. Read what you want to read, but never forget that everyone has an agenda. The agenda of this article is simple. I want people who would never normally buy a pro-unionist Union Jack waving, best of British paper like the Daily Mail or The Daily Mirror to realise they may actually be reading a watered down version everyday.

Have a look at that last link, see if there isn't a better, more local alternative on there. But if you must continue to read the heavyweights, do it online, on your computer or smart phone and do it for free. And then read some of the blogs I have linked to on the right hand side and see which ones you find more informative. Each one will have more links on their page, try them, you might learn something. And above all, look for the agendas and start asking question.

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  1. Hey you forgot to mention Welsh Icons News at http://www.welshicons.org.uk/news - Truly Welsh and truly independent

    1. I was actually looking at that site the other day. I'll put a link to it here http://www.welshicons.org.uk/news and knock up a graphic and stick it somewhere on the right.

  2. Have you ever noticed that when 'BBC Wales' report’s their latest story from a town in Cymru they always seek out the nearest English resident for their opinions, even in places like Machynlleth or Llanelli, it seems us locals are too stupid to voice an opinion.

    1. That's not strictly true, they often go out of their way to find the most stereotypical and dullest taff possible in order to make the comment by an English resident sound better.

  3. Roy Jones NUJ Wales

    Stuart it's a bit long but it conmes at an interestimg time for the Welsh Media.

    Is the Welsh media British is a reasonable one but how much of it can survive even

    A few stats; BBC radio and television originating in England give little time to Welsh affairs. BBC Wales Television originating in Cardiff and Bangor broadcast just 12 hours a week of Wales content. BBC Radio Wales (in English) all day all week and BBC Radio Cymru (In Welsh) broadcast seven days a week all originating Wales.

    S4C is the Welsh television channel in Welsh ... Last year it was taken into BBC TV's budget. Control from London will and almost certainly a loss of broadcasting revenue, with a 20 per cent cut in the pipeline.

    Across all sectors journalist, production staff, technicians and administration, have suffered, jobs and wage wage cuts consequent downgrading, with programming cut and dumbed down.

    As to the press 85 per cent of daily national newspapers sold in Wales are published in England making for sparse coverage of Wales worrying at the time of devolution when to maximise its democratic base the public need better news and information.

    There are five daily papers; Trinity Mirror's Wales Western Mail, South Wales Echo, published in Cardiff, the Daily Post (published in Llandudno Junction, Northcliffe's South Wales Evening post, Newsquest's South Wales Argos (Newport)and the North Wales Media's Wrexham Leader.

    Tindle newspapers lead title Cambrian news with 11 titles across mid Wales including Y Cymru head (Welsh office)_ Aberystwyth. All groups have local newspaper titles (about 40 in total) spread across Wales with the NWM the only group with a Wales head office.

    Titles and staff are being cut to the quick making for poorer products and a decline in circulation. Switching resources to on line media line services has failed financially because advertising revenue is static or declining. Wales then with has little control of its media's destiny its most vulnerable, local newspapers, the grass roots of the news and comment and a poor outlook for those wanting to work in the industry.

    The National Union of Journalists warned that with 1,000 members in Wales have been grappling with this for about five years warning there was facing a crisis that “threatens their survival,”. and engaged with the Welsh Assembly to initiate moves to save and develop the local media both in newsprint and new media services.

    Thus an Assembly Members committee has called for a forum to monitor the media industries in Wales as a matter of urgency with a panel of independent media experts to examine the Welsh media and the creation of sustainable business models for the local press.

    “Given the contribution that print media can make to local communities, and indeed its importance on a national level, we feel that, where there are job losses at a newspaper company, or where there is a risk of a title closing, the Welsh Government should ensure that it is in a position to be able to assist those companies, in the same way that it would assist companies in similar difficulties in other industries.” At this time thou9gh there was no recommendation that newspapers should be subsidised.
    So there whether the Wales media is British is a reasonable question, and true to a great extent, but the very existence of parts of it are under threat.. so any help that can arise from the facts published on this site is welcome

    1. Thanks for that Roy. It reminds me of a Mark Twain quote that I once read.

      “If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.”

      It's just a shame that we only have those two options.