The National Union of Journalists has called for the Welsh Assembly to intervene in what it calls the “crisis” in Welsh media.
The union is urging the Assembly, which officially opened for its fifth term today, to establish a media and communications committee to scrutinise media developments in Wales at a time when it says the provision of quality national, regional and local news is being diminished.
The call comes after Trinity Mirror announced it would be withdrawing the North Wales Daily Post’s Welsh Affairs correspondent, who covers Assembly matters at the Senedd, pictured below, from Cardiff.
A number of other roles have also been proposed for redundancy at both the Post and former Local World titles in South Wales in recent months.
The NUJ has warned national and local politics, law and order, education, business, health and the environment could go unreported if steps are not taken to address the issue.
It claims that the acquisition of the Local World titles by Trinity Mirror gives that company a “virtual monopoly of the nation’s daily newspapers.”
Members at the union’s selegate meeting, held in Southport in April, passed a motion, proposed by the union’s Cardiff and South East Wales branch and Welsh Executive Council, calling on the Assembly to establish a committee that would “monitor developments in the media industry and, with the input of experts, recommend solutions”.
Paul Scott, NUJ national executive member for Wales, said: “At a time of crisis for the media in Wales, it is vital that those elected to serve the interests of the Welsh people properly review, scrutinise and address the diminution of quality journalistic output.
“The democratic deficit created as a result of this decline is a matter of the utmost importance for politicians of all parties and we believe a media and communications committee could go a long way towards demonstrating that our decision makers fully appreciate the role the media plays in holding the powerful to account as well as putting the spotlight on, and giving a voice to, ordinary people.
“Access to quality journalism is a fundamental civic right and, though media organisations appear to be concentrating on short term measures and get-rich-quick gimmicks, it is the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly to assess and address concerns about the media in the long term.”
A Trinity Mirror spokeswoman said: “The Daily Post remains committed to covering Welsh politics at a local and national level. We believe we are better placed to do this from the community in which we serve.
“As a result we intend to appoint a politics reporter based in North Wales, who will continue to write about Assembly and local government issues that matter to our readership.”