'Democratic deficit' threat

asd2

Welsh politicians are flexing their muscles over what they see as threats to the future of press and broadcasting in Wales.

A senior member of the Welsh Assembly warned that media chiefs – such as Sly Bailey of Trinity Mirror – could be compelled to attend investigations by Cardiff into the state of their businesses when the Government of Wales Act comes into force in May. Bailey refused last year to attend an Assembly culture committee hearing on the Welsh press, sending in her place Western Mail and Echo managing director Keith Dye.

The warning was given by committee chair Rosemary Butler (Labour) at an Assembly lobby by Amicus and the NUJ against the ‘democratic deficit’which afflicts the Welsh media, and is threatening to worsen. Butler backed the unions’ call for the Cardiff government to draw up its own policy on the future of the media in Wales.

‘After May,’she said, ‘Assembly committees will be able to exercise new powers to require witnesses to attend, and should do so when necessary – no more refusals by people like Sly Bailey. We shouldn’t give up on the idea of an all-Wales newspaper which deals with all-Wales issues.’ Butler warned that any extension of local radio and TV should not be at the expense of an all-Wales service.

Trinity Mirror declined to comment.

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