BBC says it 'regrets' Newsnight debate about Welsh language as 8,000 sign petition calling for review

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The BBC has said it “regrets” not having had “more thorough analysis and debate” in a Newsnight topic about the Welsh language that has led to calls for an independent review.

Newsnight asked whether the Welsh language was “a help or hindrance to the nation” as part of the programme aired earlier this month, but failed to invite any Welsh speakers to the debate.

More than 8,000 people have since signed a petition calling for an independent review into all BBC content about the Welsh language over the last two years, with news and current affairs a priority.

In a statement, the BBC said: “Whilst different perspectives were included in this item on the Welsh language, the discussion of such an important subject would have benefited from more thorough analysis and debate.

“We regret that, but believe it was important to look at this topic and we will do so again in the future.”

Huw Marshall, who is named as the creator of the petition on website 38 Degrees, said: “A review would enable the preparation of a documented audit of all items relating to the Welsh language and would be able to establish if indeed there is an issue with regards how the Welsh language is portrayed and to assess what editorial systems are in place to ensure editorial fairness.”

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2 thoughts on “BBC says it 'regrets' Newsnight debate about Welsh language as 8,000 sign petition calling for review”

  1. I wish people could “get their local news digitally now” as Jess writes. Most of the online local stuff I see is just lifestyle – pub events, leisure centre courses, shows – and it’s usually just puff. It’s hard to find detailed coverage about the council, the NHS, etc., either online or in print. I also don’t see a ‘”free market”, especially in print. Large groups make launching a print title against them an unreasonably high-risk prospect.

    So it might be presumed that the days of reporting planning application discussions or many local court cases are over – the relative lack of interest in such doesn’t justify the cost involved in producing this news. But I think the state may well soon be able to support more of this reporting about itself for when we get the next step in tech.

    Such might be feasible already. A system that would digest, in seconds, council agendas, NHS reports and more as well access sound recordings that should be made of every court case, council meeting, inquest, etc. This system would also be able to identify news in these sources and robot-write stories. State bodies (and everyone else) should support any such recordings and data-mining and so make it as cheap as chips to better report on their work. Without such bigger thinking – and without input from the state into such projects and which it could lead – I fear the future of local journalism may just be websites and apps that might be mistaken for spam.

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