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Tuesday, August 17, 1999 Published at 17:48 GMT 18:48 UK

UK: Wales

Veteran language campaigners fined

Dr Meredydd Evans at the National Library of Wales

Two veteran Welsh language campaigners have been fined after refusing to pay their television licence in a protest at what they say is anglicisation of broadcasting services.

Dr Meredydd Evans and Dr Eirwen Gwynn were both fined £75 each and ordered to pay costs of £45 each by Aberystwyth magistrates after pleading guilty to the charge of receiving television signals without a licence.

The chairman of the bench, Brian Ashton, said that the maximum penalty for such an offence was £1,000, but after hearing the defendants' address the magistrates had decided to fine them £75.

Dr Evans said he was withholding his television licence in protest against BBC and S4C policy.

[ image: Dr Evans with examples of
Dr Evans with examples of "poor Welsh"
According to Dr Evans, the BBC and S4C have decided to use the English language as a fundamental part of their Welsh-language service.

He said that this was against the spirit of the act that was passed by Parliament in 1981 when S4C was formed.

Over 150 supporters were at the magistrates court to express their support for the defendants.

Dr Gwynn, who said she withheld payment of her licence because of what she called the poor standard of broadcasting in the Welsh language, said she was going to pay her fine and costs immediately.

Dr Evans said he was going to use the month that was given to him to decide whether he will be paying his fine or not. The two were given support by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the Welsh Language Society.

A petition is being collected in their support and it is planned for this to be presented to the BBC and S4C. More than 10,000 people have already signed.

Neither the BBC nor S4C had any comment.

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