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Heledd Gwyndaf yw Cadeirydd Cymdeithas yr Iaith a gafodd ei magu yn Efailnewydd, Felinfach, Sanclêr a Thalgarreg. Mae hi’n gyn-athrawes, yn gyn-swyddog cyfathrebu a chysylltiadau cyhoeddus mewn amrywiol feysydd ac yn gyn-gyflwynydd teledu. Mae hi bellach yn rhedeg siop a lletai yng Ngheredigion a Sir Benfro – Heledd Gwyndaf is Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith who was brought up in Efailnewydd, Felinfach, Sanclêr a Thalgarreg. She’s a former teacher, communications and public affairs officer in a number of policy areas and has also worked as a TV presenter. She currently runs a shop and accommodation in Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

Ers faint o flynyddoedd mae cymdeithas sifig yng Nghymru wedi bod yn codi pryderon am gyflwr y cyfryngau yng Nghymru? Mae hi fel tôn gron. Dros y misoedd diwethaf yn unig, mae yna restr faith o unigolion, gwleidyddion a sefydliadau sydd wedi cwyno nad yw darlledwyr Prydeinig yn adrodd straeon am Gymru neu’n drysu materion Lloegr fel rhai Prydeinig. Nid yn unig y mae dryswch mawr yn cael ei beri ond, pan nad yw’r cyfryngau yn anwybyddu Cymru, rydyn ni wedi gweld anwybodaeth lwyr a sarhad; o Newsnight yn ein gwawdio fel cenedl i ymchwilydd Radio 5 yn holi a ydy pobl o blaid gweld marwolaeth ein hiaith unigryw. Ni all democratiaeth ffynnu, nac yn wir, oroesi, dan y fath amgylchiadau.  

Ond pwy sydd wir wedi mynd ati i gynnig datrysiad? Prin yw’r sefydliadau yn y maes sy’n fodlon lleisio barn o blaid yr hyn sy’n amlwg – bod angen datganoli grymoedd darlledu i’r Senedd yng Nghymru. Ofn nifer yw pechu’r sefydliad sy’n eu hariannu, sef Llywodraeth Prydain. Ac mae diffyg arweinyddiaeth wleidyddol ar y mater. Ar un achlysur rhyfedd yn y Senedd, cafodd Aelodau Cynulliad Llafur, a chyn-arweinydd Plaid Cymru Dafydd Elis-Thomas gyda nhw, eu chwipio i bleidleisio yn erbyn hyd yn oed ymchwilio i mewn i’r costau a buddion o drosglwyddo’r pwerau.  

Ers i gyfundrefn ddatganoledig gael ei sefydlu yng ngwladwriaeth Sbaen ar ddiwedd y saithdegau, mae grymoedd wedi bod gan Catalwnia a Gwlad y Basg dros ddarlledu. Mae effaith yr hunan-reolaeth hynny ar ddatblygiad darlledu yn y ddwy wlad honno i’w gweld yn glir. Mae gan Catalonia dair gorsaf radio a chwech sianel deledu – pob un yn y Gatalaneg – ac yng Ngwlad y Basg mae’r sefyllfa yn lled-debyg gyda phump gorsaf radio a chwech sianel deledu. Mae’n sefyllfa drawiadol o wahanol i Gymru.

Nôl yng Nghymru, mae’r angen hwn am ddatganoli darlledu yn amlwg i bobol ar lawr gwlad – yn ôl arolwg barn gan YouGov a gyhoeddwyd y llynedd, gan eithrio’r bobl a ddywedodd nad oedden nhw’n gwybod, roedd 65% o blaid datganoli a 35% yn erbyn datganoli pwerau dros ddarlledu i Gymru. Mae’r bobl yn deall yr angen, ond mae’r Sefydliad yn dewis ei anwybyddu.  

Nid oes gwir angen ail-adrodd yr holl broblemau gyda’r gyfundrefn ddarlledu fel y rheolir gan San Steffan ar hyn o bryd, ond dyma ambell i ffaith sy’n amlygu’r broblem:

  • Yn ôl arolwg barn yn 2014, mae llai na hanner poblogaeth Cymru yn sylweddoli bod cyfrifoldeb dros y gwasanaeth iechyd wedi ei ddatganoli: sut bod modd cynnal democratiaeth ystyrlon yn ein gwlad gyda’r fath anwybodaeth o bwy sy’n atebol am wasanaeth mor bwysig?
  • Mae oriau darlledu ITV Cymru nad sydd yn newyddion wedi syrthio o 4 awr i 1.5 awr yr wythnos dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf;
  • Rhwng 2010 a 2015, gwnaed toriadau o 36% i gyllideb S4C gan Lywodraeth Prydain – arbedodd Llywodraeth Prydain 94% o’r arian a arferai gael eu rhoi i’r unig sianel deledu Gymraeg yn y byd;
  • Mae Llywodraeth Prydain bellach yn bwriadu cwtogi’n bellach ar S4C dros y blynyddoedd nesaf ac wedyn diddymu ei grant i’r sianel yn llwyr gyda’r holl arian yn dod o’r ffi drwydded o 2022 ymlaen – dyna fydd diwedd S4C fel darlledwr annibynnol;  
  • Mae Cymru yn llawer rhy ddibynnol ar y BBC o ran darlledu cyhoeddus – gyda’r sefyllfa yn gwaethygu gyda’r gorfforaeth yn cymryd camau bwriadol i draflyncu S4C, er enghraifft drwy leoli hanner staff y sianel yn swyddfa newydd y BBC yng Nghaerdydd;
  • Mae sianeli teledu a gorsafoedd radio masnachol lleol yn darparu prin dim rhaglenni Cymraeg, gyda Radio Ceredigion a Radio Carmarthenshire, yn canoli eu darlledu yng Nghaerdydd a Made in North Wales TV yn darlledu dim ond 3% o’u rhaglenni yn Gymraeg.

Ac mae gwaeth ar y ffordd. Mae Llywodraeth Prydain yn bwriadu dad-reoleiddio radio ymhellach – gan wrthod yn benodol tystiolaeth Ofcom Cymru oedd am weld amodau i sicrhau darpariaeth newyddion am lywodraeth ddatganoledig yng Nghymru. Er bod radio lleol yn cynrychioli 26% o’r oriau gwrando yng Nghymru, ni fydd gofyn i’r gwasanaethau radio hynny adrodd ar newyddion am Gymru ac esbonio am bynciau datganoledig, a hynny oherwydd agwedd Llundain-ganolog yr Adran Diwylliant yn Whitehall. Yn amlwg, mae dad-reoleiddio pellach yn mynd i arwain at lai o ddarlledu Cymraeg a Chymreig oherwydd nad oes pwerau yng Nghymru.

 

Digon i gwyno amdani felly, ond beth am y ffordd ymlaen? Pwy sydd yn cynnig datrysiad?  

Yn yr Eisteddfod y llynedd, yn dilyn sawl sesiwn ymgynghori, mi gyhoeddodd Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg ddrafft o bapur trafod ynghylch ymarferoldeb datganoli grymoedd darlledu.

Mae’r papur yn dod i’r casgliad y byddai modd gwario dros £60 miliwn yn fwy ar ddarlledu cyhoeddus a sefydlu tair sianel deledu a thair gorsaf radio Cymraeg, os caiff y pwerau eu datganoli i’r Senedd. Byddai tua £190 miliwn y flwyddyn yn dod yn sgil datganoli’r ffi drwydded i Gymru gyda modd codi ardoll newydd ar gwmnïau megis Google, Sky a Facebook a allai godi hyd at £30 miliwn y flwyddyn, gyda ffigwr tebyg o arian ychwanegol drwy drosglwyddo pwerau i Gymru.   

Yn ogystal, byddai modd creu Awdurdod Darlledu newydd i Gymru  a fyddai’n rheoleiddio’r cyfryngau yng Nghymru, a fyddai â phwerau a swyddogaeth i normaleiddio’r Gymraeg ar bob llwyfan cyfryngol;  i gryfhau’r cyfryngau cymunedol gan arfogi pobol i greu mwyfwy o ddeunydd yn lleol; i gryfhau cynnwys digidol ynghyd â gwella craffu ar ddemocratiaeth Gymreig.

Byddai budd mawr felly o gymryd rheolaeth yng Nghymru er mwyn llunio system ddarlledu a fyddai’n rhoi anghenion Cymru yn ganolog i’w trefniadau. Dyna pam mae polisi Cymdeithas yr Iaith yn glir: dylid datganoli cyfrifoldeb dros ddarlledu yn ei gyfanrwydd i’r Cynulliad, sef grym rheoleiddio’r holl sbectrwm darlledu, gan gynnwys cyfrifoldeb dros ffi’r drwydded.  

Mae nifer o’n cefnogwyr wedi penderfynu gwrthod talu am y ffi drwydded er mwyn pwyso am newid ym mhwerau’r Cynulliad – gyda thros hanner cant yn rhan o’r boicot. Mae croeso i eraill ymuno â ni. Ymhellach, mae nifer o’n haelodau wedi bod yn fodlon ymprydio, un person yn benodol am hyd at wythnos,er mwyn tynnu sylw at yr argyfwng – safiad dewr ac anhunanol i ffocysu meddyliau ar y mater.  

Mae nifer o wleidyddion o sawl plaid wedi datgan cefnogaeth – ac enwogion fel Rhys Ifans, Gwenno Saunders a Michael Sheen wedi apelio am newid yn ddiweddar.

Gyda’r fath weithredu yn digwydd, mae dyletswydd ar bob corff ystyried ble maen nhw’n sefyll ar y mater hwn yn lle eistedd ar yr ymylon – wedi’r cwbl mae tynged democratiaeth Gymreig yn y fantol, ynghyd â thynged ein iaith.  

Bydd y Gymdeithas yn cynnal trafodaeth am ddatganoli pwerau darlledu i Gymru yn ystod yr Eisteddfod yn y Senedd ym Mae Caerdydd am 3pm, dydd Mercher 8fed Awst gyda’r Ysgrifennydd Cabinet Alun Davies AC, Euryn Ogwen Williams ac Angharad Mair fel rhan o daith genedlaethol i hyrwyddo’r ymgyrch. Mae rhagor o fanylion i’w darllen drwy fynd i http://cymdeithas.cymru/datganolidarlledu  


For how many years has civil society in Wales been raising concerns about the state of the media in Wales now? It’s more than just a broken record.  

In the last few months alone, a long list of individuals, politicians and organisations have complained that British broadcasters don’t report on Welsh stories, or confuse English issues with UK-wide ones. Not only does this cause great confusion, but when the media isn’t busy ignoring Wales, we’ve seen utter ignorance and scorn. From Newsnight insulting us as a nation, to a Radio 5 researcher asking if we want the Welsh language to die out. Democracy cannot thrive, or indeed survive, under such circumstances.

But who has really tried to offer a long-lasting, sustainable solution? Few relevant organisations are willing to speak out in favour of the obvious – the need to devolve powers over broadcasting to the Senedd in Wales. Many fear offending the institution that funds them, namely the UK Government, and there has been a lack of political leadership. In one bizarre vote in the Senedd, Labour Assembly Members, along with former Plaid leader Dafydd Elis-Thomas, were whipped to vote against even allowing an inquiry into the costs and benefits of a transfer of the powers.  

Since the establishment of devolution in the Spanish state at the end of the seventies, Catalonia and the Basque Country have had powers over broadcasting. The impact of that autonomy on the development of broadcasting in both of these nations is clear to see. Catalonia has three radio stations and six television channels – every one broadcasting in the Catalan language – and in the Basque Country the situation is broadly similar with five radio stations and six television channels. It’s a strikingly different situation to ours in Wales.

To people out and about in Wales, the need to devolve broadcasting is obvious – according to an opinion poll by YouGov published last year, excluding those who didn’t know, 65% favour devolving responsibility for broadcasting with 35% against. The people understand the need for it, but the establishment chooses to feign ignorance.

There is no need to list here all the failings of the broadcasting system as it is currently governed by Westminster, but here are a few facts that highlight some of the problems:

  • According to a 2014 opinion poll, less than half of the population of Wales realise that responsibility for the health service is devolved: how can we maintain a meaningful democracy in our country when people don’t even know who is responsible for such an important service?;
  • ITV Wales’ non-news broadcasting hours have fallen from 4 hours to 1.5 hours a week;
  • Between 2010 and 2015, the UK government made cuts of 36% to S4C’s budget – they withdrew 94% of the funding that used to be given to the world’s only Welsh language television channel;
  • The UK Government now intends to make further cuts to S4C over the next few years and plans to abolish its grant to the channel by 2022 with all the funding coming from the licence fee from then onwards – that will be the end of S4C as an independent broadcaster;  
  • Wales is far too dependent on the BBC for public service broadcasting – the situation is worsening as the corporation takes deliberate steps to take over S4C, for example by locating half of the channel’s staff in the BBC’s new Cardiff offices; and  
  • Commercial TV channels and local radio stations provide very few programmes in Welsh, with Radio Ceredigion and Radio Carmarthenshire centralising their broadcasting in Cardiff, and Made in North Wales TV broadcasting only 3% of their output in Welsh;

And there is worse to come. The UK Government intends to deregulate commercial radio even further – specifically rejecting Ofcom Cymru’s evidence which recommended conditions that news had to report on the devolved government in Wales. Commercial radio stations like Heart and Nation represent 26% of radio listening hours in Wales, but there won’t be a requirement that those radio services report accurately or comprehensively on how decisions are made that affect people in the country. That is because of the London-centric attitude of the Department of Culture in Whitehall. There will be even less Welsh language and Welsh content on our airwaves because of a lack of powers in Wales. Weakening our democracy even further.  

So, there’s more than enough to complain about, but what’s the way forward?  

In the Eisteddfod last year, following several consultation sessions, we in Cymdeithas yr Iaith published a draft discussion paper regarding the practicalities of devolving broadcasting powers.

The paper comes to the conclusion that it would be possible to spend over £60 million more on Welsh public service broadcasting, and to establish three Welsh-language television channels and three radio stations, if powers were devolved to the Senedd. Around £190 million a year would come to us as a result of devolving the licence fee to Wales, with opportunities to raise a new levy on companies such as Google, Sky and Facebook that could raise up to £30 million a year, with a similar sum from Barnett consequentials.

In addition, it would be possible to create Awdurdod Darlledu Cymru, a broadcasting authority for Wales, that would regulate the media, with powers and functions to normalise the Welsh language across all media platforms; strengthen community media and empower people to create an increasing amount of content locally; strengthen digital content; and improve the scrutiny and accountability of Welsh democracy.

There is a substantial devolution dividend, with the prize of a broadcasting system that would put the needs of Wales front and centre. That’s why Cymdeithas’ policy is clear: responsibility for broadcasting in its entirety should be devolved to the Assembly, namely the power to regulate the whole broadcast spectrum, including responsibility for the licence fee.   

There’s a growing momentum behind the campaign: a number of our supporters have decided to refuse to pay for the licence fee in order to push for a change in the Assembly’s powers – with over fifty part of the boycott. Furthermore, a number of our members are willing to go without food, one person specifically for up to a week, in order to draw attention to the crisis – a brave and selfless action to focus minds on the matter. Politicians from a number of parties have given their support along with celebrities like Rhys Ifans, Gwenno Saunders and Michael Sheen who are appealing for change.  

With all this campaigning, there’s a duty on every organisation to consider where they stand on this issue instead of standing on the sidelines – after all, the fate of Welsh democracy, as well as our language, really do hang in the balance.

Cymdeithas will be kicking off a national tour promoting its campaign for the devolution of broadcasting at the National Eisteddfod with a debate between Cabinet Secretary Alun Davies AM, Euryn Ogwen Williams and Angharad Mair at 3pm, Wednesday 8th August in the Senedd.  For further details, go to http://cymdeithas.cymru/devolvebroadcasting  

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

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