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With an increasing amount of English content being broadcast within S4C’s programmes, Dyfodol i’r Iaith have called for robust guidelines controlling its use so that it is the Welsh language that is heard when viewers tune in to the Channel.
Eifion Lloyd Jones, Dyfodol’s spokesman on broadcasting, said:
“We are very worried to hear an increasing amount of English within S4C’s programmes. S4C after all is a Welsh channel, not a bilingual one, which begs the question as to whether BBC Wales for instance would be willing to provide a bilingual service? We want S4C to provide a secure home for the Welsh language, a place in which it can thrive as the natural default medium. The increasing use of English undermines its role as a Welsh medium channel and becomes a barrier to the representation and expression of the language.
There will of course be some exceptions – where time constraints on news programmes for instance prevent dubbing into Welsh – but only when the excerpt justifies direct inclusion rather than being paraphrased in Welsh.
However, we find it surprising that there are seemingly no clear policies or guidelines regarding the use of English within Welsh programmes. We believe this to be a fundamental shortfall, and we will continue to discuss and press for a practical arrangement to ensure S4C’s status as one of the Welsh language’s most important domains.”
In response to the S4C review, Dyfodol i’r Iaith has emphasised the channel’s rôle in work of promoting the Welsh language. The organisation has called for the adoption of a statement based on New Zeland’s Maori Television committment to contribute to the future success of the Maori language.
Heini Gruffudd, Dyfodol’s Chair said: “Working on the basis of such a statement across all the channel’s output would set a strong mission for the service in relation to the Welsh language, and would place all the channel’s work at the heart of the effort to strengthen the language.”
The organisation stresses that funding is essential if the channel is to promote the Welsh language robustly. S4C must be granted the freedom to expand and innovate within a rapidly changing market, and thus attract new audiences in Wales and beyond.
In order to innovate and develop confidently, the channel has to be adequately and consistently funded. Editorial independence is of key importance, but care must be taken at the same time to ensure that any new structures and arrangements do not compromise its future financial security.