Stu­dent goes hun­gry to boost Welsh broad­cast­ing

Western Mail - - NEWS - Martin Ship­ton Chief re­porter martin.ship­ton@waleson­line.co.uk

AYOUNG farmer is go­ing to go with­out food for seven days as part of a cam­paign for Wales to have pow­ers over broad­cast­ing.

Elfed Wyn Jones, 20, was born and raised on the fam­ily farm at Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd.

He will start his fast next Tues­day and con­tinue un­til Fe­bru­ary 27.

Although he is study­ing for a de­gree at Aberys­t­wyth Univer­sity, Mr Jones is still work­ing on the farm dur­ing his course.

He said: “I be­lieve strongly in democ­racy and so I’m very con­cerned about some­thing im­por­tant that is lack­ing in Welsh pol­i­tics. We as a coun­try can’t move to­wards our goals with­out voices that are crit­i­cal of our Gov­ern­ment, but that also ex­plain to us how the sys­tem works, not­ing what is de­volved – such as agri­cul­ture, health, ed­u­ca­tion – and the things that are not, such as the le­gal sys­tem.

“We don’t see the Welsh per­spec­tive in our news and on our tele­vi­sion sta­tions. This is also a bar­rier to the de­vel­op­ment of chan­nels and streams to de­velop more Welsh-lan­guage chan­nels and sta­tions, and the lack of re­spect for the lan­guage by the BBC is glar­ingly ob­vi­ous.

“Change is needed and the sys­tem needs to de­velop by hav­ing a voice for Wales that comes from Wales, so we can strengthen our democ­racy.”

Ac­cord­ing to a YouGov poll last year, 65% of peo­ple in Wales sup­port giv­ing broad­cast­ing pow­ers to the Na­tional Assem­bly while only 35% want politi­cians in West­min­ster to keep con­trol. But the UK Gov­ern­ment op­poses the de­vo­lu­tion of broad­cast­ing pow­ers, ar­gu­ing that the is­sue tran­scends geo­graph­i­cal bound­aries.

Mr Jones added: “I hope that my ac­tion will show just how se­ri­ous the need for Wales to have con­trol over broad­cast­ing is. I ac­cept my re­spon­si­bil­ity for tak­ing the ac­tion – not in or­der to force the author­i­ties or any­one else, but in or­der to en­cour­age oth­ers to ac­cept their re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“From the lack of a Welsh-lan­guage pres­ence on com­mer­cial ra­dio and lo­cal tele­vi­sion, to the se­ri­ous cuts to S4C, it’s clear that Lon­don is not gov­ern­ing the me­dia in the in­ter­ests of the peo­ple of Wales. The time has come to de­volve broad­cast­ing to Wales so that we can shape our own sys­tem.”

A re­port on the fu­ture of S4C, due to be pub­lished soon, will con­sider whether re­spon­si­bil­ity for S4C should be de­volved to the Assem­bly.

> Cam­paigner Elfed Wyn Jones wants broad­cast­ing pow­ers to be de­volved to the Welsh Assem­bly

> Elfed Wyn Jones

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