Assembly presiding officer warns about media 'deficit'

Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler Rosemary Butler says there is a "democratic deficit"

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A lack of media coverage about the national assembly has created a "democratic deficit" in Wales, the institution's presiding officer says.

At an event in Cardiff, Rosemary Butler will say it is "one of the gravest problems facing devolution".

She will point to cuts at the BBC, the decline of the regional and local newspaper industry and the dominance of London-based newspapers.

It follows a similar complaint from a committee of AMs.

Mrs Butler is expected to cite recent UK government reforms of the NHS in England when she speaks at an event in Cardiff Bay on Thursday.

She is expected to say it is the most "acute example" of a story that only applies to England, but is reported as if it applies to the whole of the UK.

She will say: "For the purpose of what I am going to cover tonight, I will call that problem the 'democratic deficit'.

"By that I mean who is, or perhaps more importantly who will be, relaying the work of the National Assembly to the people of Wales in the future?"

The Royal Television Society event will also hear from Professor Anthony King, of Essex University - the author of a report in 2008 that said the BBC needed to improve its coverage of the UK's nations and regions.

In May a cross-party report by AMs said a panel of experts should be set up to advise ministers on Wales' media industry.

The inquiry was set against a background of cutbacks at newspapers and broadcasters across the UK.

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