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Welsh broadcasting campaigner faces prison over campaign

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A 68-YEAR OLD from Ceredigion faces prison in an effort to devolve powers over broadcasting to Wales after saying she will not pay a court penalty of £220 last Wednesday (Apr 3).

68-year old Eiris Llywelyn, from Ffostrasol in Ceredigion, is the third person to face court over her refusal to pay for her TV licence as part of the campaign for broadcasting powers for Wales.

She is the first person to refuse to pay court penalties and so risk a prison sentence. Campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith says securing broadcasting powers for Wales is essential to sustain the country’s young devolution settlement. According to opinion polling, fewer than half of the Welsh public know that responsibility over health is devolved to the Senedd in Cardiff. Over eighty people are currently refusing to pay for their licence fees in an effort to transfer control over TV, radio and online communication from Westminster to Wales.
Speaking from the court in Aberystwyth, Eiris Llywelyn commented: “This campaign is as important as the fight to establish S4C back in the seventies and eighties. It’s a fight for the future of our language, our communities and for our democracy. Democracy is impossible without powers over the media – and a media which reflects our values and our culture – so that we see the world through a Welsh window. Devolving the broadcasting system is as important as the political system itself.
“The current system is run from Westminster. Every day, we’re treated as part of England by all the British broadcasters, and it is British propaganda which is broadcast to us in Wales. Westminster holds the reins. That’s what’s responsible for our current broadcasting backwater in Wales.

It’s why we only have one television channel – and even its financial and editorial independence hangs in the balance – one radio station and a few hours on a second one. The commercial companies have free reign to do whatever they wish with local radio and get rid of the few Welsh language hours which used to be broadcast.
“The lack of other platforms is terrible and Wales is far behind in the digital revolution. The language won’t live unless it’s used on every type of media and is the natural language of the digital media in Wales. The lack of Welsh language content on the web is a matter of concern; if the language is not visible and does not adapt to the digital age it has no future.”

Aled Powell from campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith added: “Eiris has taken a very brave stand for our young democracy in Wales; we’re very grateful to her. Decisions about broadcasting in Wales should be made by the people of Wales. We’ve had enough of MPs in London cutting the Welsh media, and presiding over a system which gives so little attention to Wales and doesn’t reflect our lives. We’re pushing for the devolution of communication and broadcasting powers for the sake of Wales’ democracy, as well as our language. The lack of Welsh content in the media is a threat to devolution, and it must be tackled.”

Campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith has published its own proposals for a devolved system of broadcasting. They claim that tens of millions of pounds extra would be available to invest in Welsh content on TV, radio and online through devolution with control over the licence fee and a new tax on big new media businesses like Netflix, YouTube and Facebook. According to a YouGov opinion poll published last year, 65% of people in Wales favour devolving powers over broadcasting to the Senedd in Cardiff.

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Future of The Pembrokeshire Herald newspaper secured

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THE COMPANY, which runs the Pembrokeshire Herald newspaper in west Wales, says it has secured an eleventh-hour investment to prevent the company from going into administration.

On Friday, The Herald’s management announced that a decision had been made to cease trading after a key investor pulled the plug – but now a deal has been struck with a new investor, which will secure the future of The Pembrokeshire Herald weekly print title, as well as three other news websites.

At least ten of the 24 staff working at The Herald have been told that they will keep their jobs following confirmation of the investment.

Herald News UK Limited has entered into a six-figure cash-for-shares agreement with Spanish advertising firm Rigographic Espana.

Its CEO, Ricardo Rigobon, who has 20 years experience in publishing and advertising, said that The Herald deserved to be saved.

He said: “As a campaigning newspaper, The Pembrokeshire Herald has served its customers well over the last six and a half years. Its circulation is strong, and the website is extremely popular. I believe with the new reduced costs business model we can secure the future of the newspaper.

“The Llanelli Herald and The Carmarthenshire Herald will continue online.”

Managing Director of Herald News UK Limited, John Hammond said that he was delighted that the future of the firm, and almost half the workforce was now secure.

He explained: “We have worked tirelessly over the weekend to get the necessary financing in place since our original investor pulled out. As a result of those efforts, we have now got a new partnership with a long-established firm in our industry.”

Editor of The Pembrokeshire Herald, Thomas Sinclair said: “I am excited that we have been given a new opportunity. It’s not a time for celebration as we still have colleagues who have lost their jobs. However, for the remaining team we now have a get on with the job of reporting the news and getting the papers out each Friday.”

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Herald publisher ceases operations

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HERALD NEWS UK LTD, the company which prints The Pembrokeshire Herald, The Carmarthenshire Herald and The Llanelli Herald has ceased operations.

Editor of Pembrokeshire Herald, Thomas Sinclair said: “After finalising today’s paper to go to print yesterday, a meeting was held last night. It was confirmed that the expected further investor funding would not be made available for the company.

“This meant that operations need be halted as the businesses was not able to pay its ongoing costs.

“At 10am today the 24 members of staff working at the newspaper have today been given notice of redundancy.

“We are absolutely devastated that after nearly 7 years and hundreds of editions of the paper we can no longer continued.”

“I would like to think that over those years, some of the stories we have written have made a difference to Pembrokeshire and beyond.”

Director of Herald News UK Limited, John Hammond said: “The company accountant could be appointing administrators as soon as next week.”

“The Owners of The Pembrokeshire Herald came to the conclusion last night during a finance meeting that the venture is no longer financially viable.

“Whilst every conceivable effort has been made to improve the financial situation of the business, we have to face the fact that there is no way that we can now continue in a solvent position.

“Whilst there has been a slow decline in readership of local newspapers, our costs for wages, printing and transport have substantially increased.”

“We would like to thank all of our loyal readers and staff.”

<img class=”wp-image-51343 size-large” src=”http://pembrokeshire-herald.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/herald2-1024×678.jpg” alt=”” width=”740″ height=”490″ /> Community: Herald titles were campaigning newspapers<img class=”wp-image-51344 size-large” src=”http://pembrokeshire-herald.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/herald3-1024×565.jpg” alt=”” width=”740″ height=”408″ /> Popular: 45,000 people read Herald titles each week in west Wales

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Theatr Felinfach Performing School presents CAMAU

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OVER the past few months enthusiastic members of Theatr Felinfach Performing School have been developing new skills through a series of masterclasses with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.

The members have been busy creating material through scripting, directing, choreography, clog dancing, folk dancing and much more. All their hard work will be shown in their ‘CAMAU’ (steps) performance on Monday 28 October, 7:00pm at Theatr Felinfach. This is your chance to see the fruits of their labour!

The Performing School was established in January 2017 and has now grown into a very popular group. It’s a great opportunity for 7-18 years olds to gain new experiences in theatre skills through the medium of Welsh and to make new friends who share the same passion for performing.

This year two trips were organized for members of the Performing School. In June, the group visited the ‘Lexicon’ show by the UK’s leading large-scale circus company ‘NoFitState’ in Bluestone, Narberth. The audience was amazed at the performers’ talents and agility and seeing the children’s faces was invaluable.

Later in July, the group visited ‘Chores’ at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, a production organised by Cluster Arts, an Australian company. The story was about two young boys playing in their mess of a room where they began using their acrobatic skills to sort out the carnage. The show was inspired by ‘slapstick’ legends Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.

Theatr Felinfach hopes to continue taking members to see various shows and productions to give them the opportunity to experience professional theatre.

The Performing School meet each Thursday evening – the primary members (7-11 years) from 4:30pm to 5:30pm and the older members (12-18 years) from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.

Membership fees are every half term and range between £30 and £35 depending on the age of the members.

If you would like more information about the Performing School and how to become a member in the new year, please contact sioned.thomas@ceredigion.gov.uk or call 01570 470697.

Tickets for ‘CAMAU’ are £6 for adults, £5 for OAPs and theatre members and £4 for students and Children. They’re available from the Box Office on 01570 470697 or online at theatrfelinfach.cymru.

 

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