For the first time, the Assembly has established a Committee with specific responsibility for communications, culture, the arts, the historic environment, broadcasting and the media.
These issues are the things that enrich our lives, that fashion and explain our narrative as a nation, that are the soul of our unique culture and heritage, and help define what it is to be Welsh.
The new Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee is a group of eight Assembly Members from across Wales, who represent the five political parties which make up the Assembly. Over the summer, the Committee provided a variety of opportunities for people to get in touch and tell us what they thought the Committee should prioritise.
Back in July, the Assembly used Facebook Live for the very first time. Over 2,700 people watched Chair of the Committee, Bethan Jenkins AM talk about her hopes for the Committee. We had lots of ideas through the Facebook Live feed, on Twitter, and by e-mail.
The Committee also held an event at the Eisteddfod where people in attendance put forward their ideas and prioritise. One of those suggestions was that the Committee should look at Welsh Language usage among young people, considering the announcement the First Minister and the Minister for Life Long Learning and Welsh Language made about the aim of growing the number of Welsh speakers to one million by 2050.
With a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to get in touch, this is what you told us were your priorities…
- How the WG aim to increase the number of Welsh speakers to one million by 2050, including Welsh language usage among young people
- Welsh language in secondary education, including a proposal to get rid of the concept of second language education and replace it with one continuum of Welsh learning
- Encouraging people to carry on using the Welsh language after they leave school
- Bilingual support for deaf and hard of hearing people
- Funding for and access to music education
- A strategy to develop the music industry in Wales
- Fees and terms for the visual and applied arts
- Access to and funding of the arts at a grassroots and local level
- How Wales supports its traditional and unique cultural arts
- Progression of Expert Review into Local Museums report
- The Wales brand
- Preserving local heritage in Wales
- Cultural and historical education in Wales
- What can the Welsh Government do to tackle the democratic deficit in Wales
- The state of local journalism in Wales
- Welsh media representation on a UK level
- Funding for the Welsh media
- The implications of the BBC Charter on S4C
- Citizen participation and access to political information
The Committee took these suggestions into consideration whilst planning the big issues they wanted to tackle over the next 5 years. There was a lot of common ground between the suggestions the Committee received and some of the Committees priorities, including:
- how the ambition of achieving a million Welsh speakers can be achieved
- concern at the continuing decline of local media and local news journalism
- lack of portrayal of Wales on UK broadcast networks
- the role of Radio in Wales
- the remit, funding and accountability of S4C
We have grouped the remaining ideas together, and want the public to decide which issue you think the Committee should investigate in the next couple of months, once the Committee has completed its work on the Welsh language strategy. This is the first time an Assembly Committee will have given the public the ability to so directly decide what its focus should be.
Get involved by completing and sharing this survey.
This is not to say that we will ignore all but the most popular issue. All of these responses will help us decide our priorities further down the line, and we intend to follow-up all of these areas, be that through a formal inquiry, by asking questions to Ministers or by seeking plenary debates.
The Committee is committed to engaging the range of individuals, groups, businesses and organisations in its work, and hope that by providing opportunities to directly affect the Committees work that it effectively represents the interest of Wales and its people.
More about the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee.