TV programming in Welsh and Gaelic must be protected
Welsh and Gaelic speakers will benefit from increased programming under new laws proposed by the UK government.
Decades-old broadcasting regulations will be updated to give the UK’s vital public service system a deal fit for the streaming age and ensure that the importance of programs broadcast in regional and minority languages of the United Kingdom is recognized in the mandate of the public service broadcaster (PSB) for the first time.
The broadcasting white paper published today also includes plans for regional and minority language content published on digital platforms to be captured in the public service remit of S4C, STV and other broadcasters.
Geographic broadcast restrictions will be removed from Welsh-language broadcaster S4C so people can enjoy Welsh content wherever they are in the UK – supporting the Welsh economy, culture and society, and the ambition of the UK government to see one million Welsh speakers by 2050.
Measures to boost the prominence of programming by channels such as the BBC, S4C and STV will support Welsh and Gaelic broadcasting in Wales and Scotland by ensuring they are available and easy to find on smart TVs, streaming sticks and set-top boxes. These are part of plans to give PSOs greater flexibility in how they meet their obligations and to strengthen their ability to target younger audiences in a rapidly changing media landscape.
UK Media Minister Julia Lopez said:
“Broadcasting in regional and minority languages offers speakers a crucial opportunity to enjoy a range of quality programming in a language that is familiar to them, and a means of cultural expression for communities across the UK. .
“We will – for the first time – make clear in law the importance of programs broadcast in UK regional and minority languages by including it in our new public service remit for television.”
Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, said:
“Hundreds of thousands of people access Welsh-language content every week and our plans will provide greater support for broadcasters like S4C and make it easier for audiences to find content in the language of their choice.
“Welsh broadcasting and production plays a crucial role in the creative industries and the UK government will continue to support the sector as we work towards our ambition of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.
“Today’s announcement follows our commitment of £7.5 million per year to the digital development of S4C, ensuring the widest range of platforms possible”
The government will continue to support long-term commitments to support cross-border broadcasting on the island of Ireland, including funding for the Northern Ireland digital terrestrial television multiplex which carries RTÉ and TG4 services to Northern Ireland. North since 2012. It will also examine the scope to ensure the pre-eminence of services in regional and minority languages.
The government’s Broadcasting White Paper sets out a wide range of measures to protect UK content by giving public service broadcasters a more flexible mandate for the programs they produce and broadcast.
This includes plans to better offer viewers of video-on-demand services the same protections against harmful content as TV viewers by establishing a new Ofcom code and regulatory powers over content standards.
The government will pursue the change of ownership of Channel 4 to give it the tools it needs to succeed in the future as a public service broadcaster while protecting its distinctive character.