Dyfodol S4C (In Welsh to test the waters…)

I gychwyn y ffeithiau:
1) Y BBC i ariannu S4C o incwm o’r drwydded.
2) Yr ariannu i ddisgyn o’r swm cyfredol o c. £100m y flwyddyn i gyfanswm o £83m erbyn 2014/15.
3) Partneriaeth rheoli ar egwyddorion cyffelyb i BBC Alba i gychwyn erbyn 2013/14, gyda Awdurdod S4C yn cytuno a rhyw fath o fwrdd y BBC ar strategaeth y wasanaeth.

Yr adwaith? Geraint Talfan Davies yma

There is no shortage of astonishment in Welsh broadcasting circles at the fate of S4C in the comprehensive spending review. The rumoured cut of 6 per cent a year for four years has proved to be pretty accurate – final figure 24.4 per cent – but now the very existence of the organisation is hanging by a thread as a result of a forced marriage with the BBC. The BBC will pay the first dowry in 2013 before full consummation in 2015.

But before the ensuing debate descends into mayhem it is worth trying to keep the issue of political process separate from the substance of what is proposed, even if the deficiencies of the process may in the end point us towards even more radical change.

The process is surely indefensible. Parts of a series of Broadcasting Acts from 1980 onwards, together with parts of the Communications Act 2003 have, in effect, been repealed without a single minute of Parliamentary debate, without any consultation with the S4C Authority itself – an erstwhile autonomous statutory organisation that is obliged now to admit the BBC into a full partnership in running its channel – or with Welsh Ministers. Rushed ministerial meetings during a boozy golf tournament hardly count as consultation.

The Culture Minister, Jeremy Hunt, has acted like a Tudor monarch, whetting his appetite for swift executions with the dispatch of the UK Film Council, before attending to the trouble beyond March in like fashion. The Tudors, for good reason, probably understood Wales better. The S4C Authority intends to challenge the decision through judicial review. It could prove an interesting case, but it will not deter the Government from pushing on. It has more than enough time to regularise its decisions in Parliament, and to finesse points of detail. There is no Gwynfor Evans waiting in the wings. Times have changed.

O’r Gymdeithas yma

“Mae’r newyddion yn anghredadwy. Mae’r Torïaid a Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol wedi colli’r plot a heb feddwl y syniad trwyddo. Os oes gan eu cynrychiolwyr o Gymru unrhyw asgwrn cefn, byddan nhw siarad allan yn erbyn y syniad ofnadwy hwn. Mae rhaid bod yn glir am beth mae hyn yn golygu – mynd yn ôl i’r saithdegau pan nad oedd S4C yn bodoli. Y gwir yw erbyn 2015 mae’n bosib fydd na ddim sianel ar ôl i’r BBC cymryd drosodd oherwydd toriadau Jeremy Hunt. Oes gan y Llywodraeth yn Llundain unrhyw ots am Gymru?”

Efallai’r adwaith mwyaf syfrdanol yw hynny o Meri Huws, o Fwrdd yr Iaith:- o Wales Online

Ms Huws said: “S4C is an essential part of the overall strategy to safeguard the Welsh language. Over the past decades, S4C has given status to the language, through the wealth of programmes and films that were broadcast on the channel. Where there was an independent body making broadcasting decisions based on language planning expertise, we now have decisions being made in vacuum.
“By conducting all their negotiations behind closed doors in London, the British Government has undermined and insulted broadcasting in Wales as a whole; it is deeply offensive.
“Historically, this Government has been supportive of the Welsh language, but now they have robbed of any long-term planning capacity for broadcasting in Welsh, and have limited us to three or four years at the most.
“It took many years of campaigning to establish S4C, and it has been serving the people of Wales to a high standard for twenty-eight years. It only took a few days to pull the plug on it all. It’s quite unbelievable.”

Ac o Alun Ffred:yma

Gadewch i ni gael arolwg annibynnol o S4C i gael gweld pa fath o fodel fyddwn ni’n gallu ei gynnig er mwyn rhoi rhaglenni Cymraeg i bobol Cymru, o bosib mewn ffordd wahanol.

“Gadewch i ni edrych wedyn pa fath o arian fydd ei angen i gyflawni hynny, yn hytrach na dweud ‘dyma’r arian’, beth allwch chi ei wneud efo hwnna.

“Ddylai dyfodol darlledu Cymraeg ddim cael ei benderfynu gan Ysgrifennydd Gwladol o Surrey, sy’n gwybod dim am Gymru, a phenaethiaid y BBC yn Lloegr.”

Google Translate

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  • Barn fi ydy fod does dim pwynt i S4C dim mwy. Roeddwn i yn byw yn Cymru am nifer o flynyddoedd ac dwi ddim yn cofio gwylio dim byd ar yr sianel yn yr amser hynny. Does gan rhan fwyaf o’r Cymry ddim diddordeb o gwbwl mewn pethau gwirion fel Pobol y Cwm, neu fersiwn S4C o The X Factor. Be oedd gennyn nhw?

    A ia, Fferm Factor. Dwi’n dweud dylai ni cau yr sianel lawr yn gyfangwbl neu gorfodi nhw fynd ar ffordd eu hunan. Does dim arian gan yr cyhoedd rwan i wario ar sianel mae neb yn gwylio.

    Head over to Google Translate if you want that translated…

  • Neil

    “Ddylai dyfodol darlledu Cymraeg ddim cael ei benderfynu gan Ysgrifennydd Gwladol o Surrey, sy’n gwybod dim am Gymru, a phenaethiaid y BBC yn Lloegr.”

    Could be worse Dewi, you could have the member for North Shropshire, and that without having had the option to not vote for him.

  • turnpike

    A recent survey showed that almost 200 of its programmes had zero viewers. An enormous waste of money ditto the millions thrown at the Irish language

  • Alan Maskey

    So Turnpike, should there be a Welsh identity? Would you approve of a policy of eradication, penal laws perhaps? What 200 programmes had zero viewers btw?
    Whilst it is true that minority language interests attract leeches, these would be dwarfed by the English language leeches.
    The fate of ther Irish language was handed over to brain dead civil servants morfe than 70 years ago. That sealed its demise.

  • Disgusted Barry Resident

    Having seen a lot of the drivel that purports to be ‘entertainment’ on S4C (much of its output appears to amount to what can only be described as ‘horse and cart racing’ and school children singing), one has to wonder why it deserves to be the most subsidised TV channel in the world. If it produced quality programmes then fine – but it dosent and in the meantime it is inflicted on the rest of us in Wales. It should be a subscription only channel somewhere on the digital network and all subsidies should be cut.

  • Dewi

    Survey largely discredited turnpike. Ignored children and it’s kids programmes that tend to get the “zero” ratings.

  • Alan Maskey

    Dewi: Any goods or passable Welsh movies you can recommend? How about listenable music?

  • Seymour Major

    Yr unig beth S4C yn dda ar gyfer yw’r rygbi pan nad yw ar unrhyw sianel arall

  • Dewi

    Rheswm digon teilwng SM…

  • turnpike

    Preserve a language by all means, but don’t expect everybody else to pay for it (forget about the ‘Welsh speakers pay tax too’ argument because Wales doesn’t raise enough in tax to cover all its other expenditure hench the hefty annual subvention) privatise the channel, then see how long it survives.

  • Dewi

    I don’t like paying taxes for the £5.8b annual subsidy for transport for London – can I opt out?

  • Kevin Barry

    Super Furry Animals Mwng isn’t bad

  • I’m pretty sure if a survey were done on the BBC’s programmes that a great deal of them would be found to have no viewers either. The reason S4C was founded – and it’s the same reason TG4 was established – was because of the failure of the BBC and RTE to meet its obligations, statutory obligations in the case of RTE, to provide adequate Irish language programming. S4C was originally funded by Margaret Thatcher – and it was fairly generous funding even then. Her ‘market force credentials’ couldn’t be faulted but it’s ironic that because of the current economic crisis, caused by the rampant greed of the market players and the consequent fault, the likes of S4C are being targeted now.
    As for ‘who pays for the language?’ well we all have to pay something, Welsh speakers and English speakers and Irish speakers etc. If the UK has asserted dominion over Wales, then it has a moral and legal obligation, unless it wants to eradicate all Welsh culture and language, to provide for it. The case is similar for the Irish language in Northern Ireland. Turnpike may blithely dismiss the fact that Irish and Welsh speakers pay taxes too but he can’t presume that we don’t see that the money for s4C and education and health is going on cushioning the fall of the market for the wealthy – a great many of whom pay little or no tax.

  • turnpike

    Londoners more than cover the subsidy (their tax receipts being far more that they receive in services) plus pay for every other subsidy around the UK from sublime (free entry to museums) to the ridiculous (S4C)

  • Dewi

    “Londoners more than cover the subsidy (their tax receipts being far more that they receive in services)”

    One of those enduring myths that when repeated become convential wisdom.
    Fact: London receives more public spending per head than anywhere in Britain.
    Fact: Records of tax receipts declare as “London” income tax on companies with HQs in London – wherever their operations are based.

  • Nordie Northsider

    It’s not that programmes have ‘no viewers’, it’s merely that the viewing figures are beneath the radar so to speak. Would day-time repeats of, for example, Fraser on the Comedy Channel show up in viewing sureys? I doubt it. Such is life with the proliferation of media.

  • John D

    Yn anffodus … no, I’ll have to abndon yr hen iaith and write this in English … Apart from the rugby the only other S4C programme I used to watch was the news in Welsh for learners (Yr Wythnos), which was broadcast most Sunday lunchtimes. It now seems to have disappeared altogether — anyone know why?
    Interestingly S4C was only set up (by the Thatcher government) because Gwynfor Evans threatened to go on hunger strike if a Welsh language channel wasn’t established. As far as I remember it, he only threatened — never actually did go on hunger strike. …

  • @John D

    Yr Wythnos was produced by the BBC and dissapeared as part of their cutbacks (a sign of things to come?!). Although aimed at learners, it was watchable if you were fluent as it was a handy weekly news round up.

    Establishing a Welsh channel was part of Thatchers maniffesto promise, which she went back on, which led to campaigning by Cymdeithas (climbing and disabling transmitters) and Gwynfor’s threat of going on hunger strike.