Dyfodol i’r Iaith has submitted proposals to the Welsh Assembly’s Task and Finish Group on the Welsh Language and Economic Development. Among a wide range of recommendations, it says jobs should be created and moved to a selected number of Welsh “growth towns” outside Cardiff. This document is in Welsh: Economi a r Gymraeg – sylwadau Dyfodol. For further information, e-mail [email protected].
Dyfodol i’r Iaith wants to see Radio Cymru developing into two services, Radio Pop and Radio Pawb (for all), thereby becoming a strong force in the revival of the Welsh language throughout Wales.
In their contribution to the open discussion launched by BBC Cymru/Wales Director, Rhodri Talfan Davies, Dyfodol i’r Iaith claims that the Welsh language station should take advantage of its unique position in the hearts and homes of the nation to serve the language and culture of that nation.
“We regret that the head of the BBC in Wales has spoken disparagingly that it is not the station’s duty to ‘protect and preserve a rarefied form of the Welsh language… come what may’, as we believe that Radio Cymru should do more than ‘preserve’”, according to Heini Gruffudd, Chair of Dyfodol. “It’s the BBC’s responsibility, as a public service that we all pay for, to honour its own royal charter by ‘promoting education and learning’ and by ‘stimulating creativity and cultural excellence’.
“In Wales, that means promoting its indigenous language and culture, not merely ‘offering a service’ that reflects the language’s decline”, according to Dr.Gruffudd. “Audiences are attracted by the quality of programmes in every language, as well as an attractive variety in its daily provision. Intentional Anglicization would only hasten Radio Cymru’s demise. Attractive and varied content would naturally lead to language enhancement, as happens with the present enlightened policy towards the Maori language in New Zealand.”
Regarding the questions Rhodri Talfan Davies has asked audiences in Wales to answer, Heini Gruffudd added that they should be directed at Radio Wales as well as Radio Cymru. “If Welsh learners and those with little confidence in the language were given an impetus to learn on Radio Wales, thereby increasing their confidence, they could then be directed to appropriate programmes on Radio Cymru.”
In order to expand Radio Cymru’s appeal to learners, and young people in particular, Dyfodol i’r Iaith wants the service to be shared between two stations which they have named as Radio Pop and Radio Pawb (for all). The former would target the young and Welsh learners with music using contemporary spoken Welsh in its presentation, and the latter would be a comprehensive service of news, drama, entertainment and music in a natural and standard form of Welsh.
According to Dyfodol i’r Iaith, “This is an opportunity to deliver Rhodri Talfan Davies’s wish to expand Radio Cymru’s appeal beyond its present audience, without antagonising and losing that traditional audience”.
Note for Editors
Dyfodol i’r Iaith (A Future for the Language) is a non-political organisation that works to benefit the Welsh language. Its aim is to exert influence through constitutional means on the substance and content of public policies and legislation in order to promote and nurture the growth of the Welsh language.
Dyfodol i’r Iaith responds fully to Rhodri Talfan Davies’ invitation to take part in a “discussion” about the future of Radio Cymru. Dyfodol rejects his dichotomy between “saving the language” and “serving its audience”, and proposes a more positive vision, that includes Radio Wales as well. The document (in Welsh) here: ‘Sgwrs Radio Cymru’. For further information, please contact [email protected].