Complaints over BBC Wales programme on Welsh language

BBC Llandaff

BBC Wales has admitted one of its current affairs programmes did not sufficiently explore different viewpoints.

The broadcaster said it had received "a number" of complaints following Week in Week Out's (WIWO) programme "The cost of saving the Welsh language".

Welsh language commissioner Meri Huws has sought an "urgent meeting" with BBC Wales Director Rhodri Talfan Davies.

Ofcom is assessing complaints about the programme on the grounds of "fairness".

Ms Huws, who wants to discuss the content of the programme, has made a similar request to the BBC Trustee for Wales, Elan Closs Stephens.

She told BBC Wales' Newyddion 9 she also wanted to raise "audience feedback" with the broadcaster.

BBC Wales issued an apology before WIWO was broadcast on Tuesday after admitting that data which previewed the programme "wasn't robust".

In the WIWO programme, Torfaen council estimated the potential cost of introducing the Welsh language standards could be £868,000.

The Welsh language society, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, has written to BBC Wales asking for an apology for what it called "prejudicial reporting and factual errors" and called for staff to receive training in Welsh language awareness.


Cymdeithas yr Iaith said: "We believe the programme was one-sided, included a number of inaccuracies, intentionally sought to create tensions between communities in order to get attention, and demonstrated a general bias against the Welsh language.

"When it comes to other equalities issues, the BBC would not have dared put a programme as flawed as this on air.

"We believe these inaccuracies, as well as the obvious bias in the programme, are very serious matters: it should not have been broadcast."

A BBC Wales spokesman said: "We have received a number of complaints about the Week In Week Out investigation, broadcast on Tuesday, May 24, and will deal with those in line with the BBC's complaints procedure.

"The team has a track record of delivering outstanding reports but we recognise that this particular investigation did not sufficiently explore the different viewpoints on the introduction of the new Welsh language standards."

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