Tuesday, 16 November 2010

What is more important, S4C or the Welsh Language?

In recent weeks there have been a number of attacks on individuals who have questioned the performance and funding levels of S4C.

Many of these attacks have come from individuals who have never before shown much interest in the language and seem to be using an important subject to score political points, however I feel it is important to point out that questioning the performance of S4C is not anti the Welsh language.

I like many others was very disappointed by the S4C funding cuts announced but I do understand that cuts have to be applied fairly and I can understand why S4C had to take a share.

I am a passionate supporter of the Welsh language and I feel that it is a vital part of our national identity. The work that has been done over the last 30 years (much of it by S4C) to protect and support the language has been excellent and we are very fortunate to have a relatively strong base to start from.

However I do not believe that television will play nearly as significant a role in protecting and expanding the number of Welsh speaker over the next 30 years.

The point that when S4C was established it was 1 of 4 channels whereas today it has to compete against nearer 400 has already been made, and if feel the future of the language is more likely to be protected through more modern media.

The expression of this view is not anti Welsh or anti the Welsh language.

Going forward S4C needs to either diversify and promote the Welsh language through far more channels such as online tv, smart phone apps and social media or accept that its budget is going to be squeezed.

Ultimately the total budget for promoting the Welsh language is finite and going forward the proportion spent on traditional television should fall as new ways to use the language emerge.

I know some steps in this direction have already been made by S4C but so far they have not been sufficient.

Criticism of S4C is not anti Welsh Language. Indeed many of those who question the performance of the channel do so out of concern for the future of the language.

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