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    20 March, 2005

    Inquiry into Welsh Media

    I left the Assembly on Thursday to go straight to Swansea for the Welsh Labour conference before recording anything on the first joint inquiry by the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee and one of the National Assembly's Committees. Previously, the Welsh Affairs Select Committee and the Assembly Economic Development Committee had looked at the Transport (Wales) Bill, the first time there had been joint pre-legislative scrutiny of a Bill (there had been separate pre-legislative examinations of the Public Audit (Wales) Bill), but this was the first joint inquiry into a policy area.

    Hosted by the Assembly Culture Committee, with the Assembly Economic Development Committee also in attendance, we looked at the current developments in media policy affecting Wales, with evidence from S4C, BBC Wales, ITV Wales and ITV News, the NUJ and BECTU, and OFCOM.

    It was not entirely satisfactory. There were too many of us; we had too many questions in a short space of time with no real opportunity for follow-up questions; there was not enough time overall (getting diaries together was a problem) and we didn't have the independent producers there to guve evidence. But it's a start, I guess.

    In policy terms, two things stood out for me, one major, one less so. The major item was that evidently ITV will oppose OFCOM's recommendations for the nations, which I am sure will be one of the major issues on which we focus; and that S4C still does not understand its need to act in an accountable way, for example, in relation to procurement.

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

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