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Post  Admin on Wed 1 Oct 2008 - 15:08

Our view of the world is shaped by the way the world is presented to us. Nearly every one of us relies on television, radio and newspapers for an up to date perspective on what is happening in the world. Yet at present most of us read daily papers which are published in London, and the majority of television and radio content is networked to the UK as a whole, with very little content specific to Wales.

How would this change in an independent Wales? Indeed, are such changes a prerequisite in order to further the sense of national identity necessary for Wales to become independent? Would we, like most European countries, have a national broadcaster paid for wholly or largely through a licence fee or general taxation? What sort of regulatory framework would we need for commercial broadcasters, in particular with regard to the news and current affairs content?

In terms of printed media, how would we encourage newspapers in Wales? Should we consider an element of state funding as is done in Scandinavia and Italy? Alternatively, should we regard print as a dying medium, and focus attention on the internet instead?

As well as to inform, the other purpose of the media is to entertain, and is so doing it takes its place among the multiplicity of cultural and artistic activities that form part of any nation's life. Many of these just happen without needing any particular national structure, but for just as many subsidies and grants from national and local government and bodies like the lottery already contribute an important part of their funding. So should we follow the same model in an independent Wales, or can we think of more effective ways of doing it?

In terms of heritage, perhaps nothing much needs to change. We already look after our historical sites through Cadw and it should not be too difficult to set up a separate National Trust for Wales similar to that in Scotland. Do we need to change anything in our planning laws to protect the character of our urban and rural areas, and what should we do to foster new buidlings and developments of the highest design quality?

In terms of movable art treasures, institutions such as the National Gallery or the British Museum house collections on behalf of the UK as a whole or at least for England and Wales. Should we be looking for our fair share of these to be rehoused in Wales after independence? We are in a different position to Scotland which has its own National Galleries, with these having had a substantial purchase grant to build up their collections for nearly the whole of the past century. How do we ensure that we don't merely set up a new building called the National Gallery of Wales without getting our rightful share of what it's meant to house?


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