Welsh Assembly to launch media inquiry in September

The National Assembly for Wales will launch an inquiry into the state of the Welsh media later this year in response to widespread cuts to the country’s press and broadcasting industries.

A task group will be established in September to look at ’emerging and future issues’faced by the media.

The inquiry was originally intended to look only at broadcasting, but Press Gazette understands its remit will be widened to include the press following news that the country’s biggest newspaper publisher, Trinity Mirror-owned Media Wales, is axing 22 editorial jobs.

Calls for the media inquiry were led by the Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for South West Wales, Bethan Jenkins.

She told a meeting of the Assembly’s Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee: ‘With the changes to how S4C and the BBC are funded and the challenges to the print media and to broadcasting in general, now is the time for us to do something, because I think that the public would also like Wales to take an interest in this particular issue.”

The committee next meets in mid-September when it will finalise the remit of the “task and finish” group.

A source close to the discussions said this is likely to look at what can be done to protect journalism jobs in Wales and to investigate whether non-profit organisations should be established to protect the future of the press and broadcasting industries. The source said: “A lot of good people have been lost from journalism in Wales – we need to find a way of arresting that.”

The inquiry will get underway at the end of September and organisations that will be required to give evidence are being contacted over the summer.

Last week, Aberavon’s Labour MP Hywel Francis tabled a motion protesting against the cuts at Media Wales. The NUJ is also campaigning against proposed job losses at BBC Wales News.

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