BBC answers Newsnight Welsh language 'bias' criticism


The BBC has said it understands why viewers felt a Newsnight item on the Welsh language was "biased" with guests "poorly chosen".

It responded to criticism of a show earlier this month asking if the Welsh language was a "help or a hindrance".

Since then, 8,000 people have signed a petition requesting an independent review of how it portrays the language.

The BBC has now said the item would have benefitted from a Welsh speaker "with knowledge of the subject area".

It received criticism after presenter Evan Davis interviewed author and columnist Julian Ruck and community website editor Ruth Dawson - neither of whom speak the language.

In response to complaints, the BBC said representatives of the Welsh Language Commissioner and the Welsh Language Society were invited on the programme and "we regret their omission".

The broadcaster said it "recognises the concern about the programme's opening headline.

"Our intention throughout was to challenge and explore the public policy that supports the language - not the validity or value of the language itself - and we acknowledge that the headline could have been clearer on this point."

The BBC said it will return to the subject in the future with what it hopes will be "happier results".

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