A protest was held outside the BBC’s studios in Wrexham yesterday to call for S4C to retain its independence.
The protests were held by Welsh language group Cymdeithas yr Iaith against proposals to part fund S4C using money from the BBC license fee, which would see the Welsh language channel closely tied to the BBC.
Banners were held and posters stuck to the front door of Glyndwr University’s Centre for the Creative Industries which recently became home to the BBC in Wrexham.
Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Aled Roberts appeared to criticise his own party over proposals to cut S4C’s budget, he said:
“The coalition government’s plans will harm broadcasting in Wales. The statement by the Minister (Jeremy Hunt) made hours after the bill was passed will mean we have potentially no Welsh channel after 2015.
“If the channel has no financial security, its independence is gone. That’s not right.”
He insisted he was not a rebel and said all four parties in Wales were against the moves to absorb S4C into the BBC, itself facing major cuts.
A BBC spokesperson said last year that the UK government could no longer fund S4C at its current level and that the channel would be partnered with the BBC as part of the license fee settlement to fund the service.
The rally also heard from Wrexham MP Ian Lucas who he said “I believe in diversity in broadcasting in Wales. I will support a properly funded S4C, an independent S4C.”
Cllr Marc Jones, leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Wrexham council, said “We should expect nothing else but attacks on the public sector from the Tories but we should remember that S4C is unique as the only television channel born of struggle and protest.”
He also said that he believed the channel had become remote from its original roots in Welsh communities and had become corporate and complacent.
He added: “S4C is in crisis at the moment, but in every crisis there is opportunity. This is our chance to reclaim S4C as ‘Sianel Pobl Cymru’, the people’s channel, rather than Sianel Crachach Cymru.
“Let’s re-launch S4C as an independent channel free from control in London.”
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