ITV Wales have defended their approach to broadcasting after a Welsh Assembly report says they’re not doing enough to represent life in Wales.
A report produced by the Culture, Welsh Language and Communication Committee was published on Wednesday and scrutinises broadcasters in Wales.
The report says ITV have a “laissez-faire approach” which “has not led to Welsh voices being adequately represented”.
ITV Wales’ Public Affairs Manager, Huw Rossiter, says they “were surprised by the use of that language. We think it’s unfair, that gives the impression that ITV Wales has not been pro-active in their dealings. Nothing could be further from the truth…There’s a tendency to forget what ITV have contributed to the plurality of broadcasting in Wales.”
He added: “We welcome the work of the Committee and we will continue to engage constructively with them.”
AM Lee Waters, who sits on the Culture committee, says “ITV have reacted remarkably thin-skinnedly” to the report.
Speaking to CJS News in his first broadcast interview since the report, he says “they’re not used to having criticism and they’re feeling a little bit sorry for themselves.
“But they need to get used to it, they’re a public service broadcaster. They get the licence to broadcast and charge advertising from the public, they’ve made significant profits in recent years…and there needs to be a bigger payback from that because they’re not serving Wales well.”
Broadcasting is not devolved in Wales but the Committee report says “the role of broadcasters and the media in Wales is of enormous cultural and political importance.”
Other recommendations made by the report include:
- Asking the BBC Director General to provide an extra £30 million annually for English language drama and broadcasting in Wales
- The BBC should fund a Wales news ‘opt-out’ – that means including Welsh as well as national news – for Radio 1 and Radio 2
- No further cuts should be made to Welsh language broadcaster’s S4C’s funding
The Culture committee’s recommendations will be sent to Welsh Government to consider.