Making The News Ourselves

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THE move towards a networked society is possibly one of the biggest allies of the Welsh Independence movement just now.

Last week, there was historic cross-party support in the Senedd for seeking enhanced broadcasting provision in Wales.

With the members of the different parties on the committee in agreement on the need to devolve S4C and other broadcasting services to Wales.

Although the new consensus on this is welcome, it does in a way presuppose replicating the established news model albeit in a Welsh context.

Consolidating the present power bases we have might not be good news for a small nation like Wales.

The recent S4C documentary on Mark Drakeford, produced by the BBC, might serve as a warning sign in this respect.

The fawning programme, which reeked of a cosy in-house relationship between Welsh Labour, BBC and S4C, didn’t ask any of the hard questions a nation might expect to be put after the year we’ve had to endure.

And it showed the serious limitations of a power-brokers model of news production here in Wales.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be like this any more as Citizens Media is now starting to take off here.

Mainly because of the growth of the networked society, which allows information to be created and disseminated on a much more level playing field.

Citizens Media is officially defined as ‘public citizens playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analysing and disseminating news and information’.

One of the features of the last year with so many people stuck at home is that a vast number of on-line groups have been set up allowing people to create and exchange information with each other.

This has also facilitated the growth of the Welsh independence movement, with so many pro-indy sites having popped up over the past twelve months .

‘We would like to see more citizen’s media developing in Wales as it would be healthy for our democracy’ said a spokesperson for Gwlad.

‘It’s one way of making sure that it won’t just be the usual people in charge media wise, as we move towards independence’.

‘A strong citizens media model will ensure that people are more informed and more engaged on the issues that count.’

This Gwlad news site, in existence for just over a year, is one example of a new citizens media.

Manned by a couple of people alone, we are nevertheless able to get daily news and commentary out to thousands of people in Wales by means of the different on-line groups which are now in existence.

Devolving news and broadcasting has to mean much more than just allowing ‘business as usual’ to continue.

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