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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 February 2005, 18:07 GMT
Reaction to plans for Welsh TV
TV and remote control

Broadcasters and politicians have reacted to proposals for the future of Welsh television announced by regulator Ofcom.

Among Ofcom's suggestions is that ITV Wales could make more for the network, but also cut its non-news programmes.

Ofcom also puts forward three possible futures for S4C.

First is the status quo, with revised arrangements for working with the BBC - which supplies all S4C's news - and "greater editorial control" for S4C.

A second option was incorporating S4C into the BBC, although the regulator warned against it.

Ofcom said independence was important to S4C's success, and there was a risk that the BBC's priorities would conflict with the Welsh language broadcaster.

The third suggestion, and the one backed by Ofcom, was for S4C to go out to competitive tender for a period of 10 years.

The decision will be made by the UK government.

How they responded to Ofcom's proposals
Roger Lewis, managing director, ITV Wales: "This is very encouraging for Wales. Ofcom today has recognised Wales' nationhood and has recognised ITV 1 Wales as a provider of national broadcasting for our country.

"It's also excellent news for everyone across the broadcasting sector in Wales - for S4C, the BBC, ITV and also for the independent sector as well.

S4C: "To maintain and develop its role as a powerhouse for creative excellence and an economic catalyst, S4C favours an evolving model for the future, combining elements of Ofcom's first and third options.

"Central to this model - which maintains S4C's statutory independence - is the need both to realise the potential of the independent sector and to modernise the channel's relationship with the BBC.

"S4C does not believe it would be appropriate for the whole of Welsh-language television to be provided by a single commercial entity, where shareholder interests would predominate, as seems to be envisaged by Ofcom's option three. It welcomes, however, the radical thinking about the industry in Wales which this proposition has helped to inspire.

BBC Wales: "The delivery of our services through S4C is a key element of Welsh language broadcasting and we are very concerned at any suggestion that editorial control of any part of the BBC's output including its journalism should transfer to another broadcaster.

"BBC Cymru Wales has a strong partnership with S4C. Indeed we have made specific new proposals to strengthen that partnership.

"We don't recognise the need to break up that productive relationship by imposing a completely new structure."

Labour AM Leighton Andrews: "We need to read the detail carefully.

"But the good news is that there will be protection for ITV Wales news and current affairs."

Plaid Cymru MP Simon Thomas: "This is a bad day for Welsh broadcasting.

"New Labour is responsible for letting the industry in Wales down. We now know that there will be savage job losses at ITV Wales by as much as 5% this year and then a 15% cut in 2007.

"Plaid Cymru is open to a real debate about the future of S4C in the digital age but remains wedded to the core principle that the only Welsh language broadcaster should remain in public control and accountability."

Conservative AM Lisa Francis: "Whilst there is a decrease shown here from five hours to four hours, the decision will hopefully lead to a more stable and helpful period for ITV Wales. Four hours is certainly better than nothing at all.

"In respect of S4C, the Welsh language TV channel, the future is uncertain."

Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Ípik: "Ofcom is right to recommend at least half ITV's network programmes are made outside London, up from one-third.

"In fact, if it's done right, this could expand Welsh programme production, though I'm a bit suspicious of these edicts, as there's always the danger the whole lot will simply be moved from London to, say Manchester or Leeds, which doesn't help the nations and regions much at all.

"Still, Ofcom's intent to cut regional output is a concern."


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