Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Second Report

25.  Joint Memorandum submitted by the BBC and S4C


  S4C and the BBC have reached an agreement to provide live television coverage of the National Assembly for Wales on S4C's new digital channel S4C2.

  The service will be provided by BBC Wales' News and Current Affairs Department and the costs of carrying and transmitting the service will be borne by S4C.

  Agreement on the collaboration follows on from S4C's decision to safeguard digital space within its multiplex for a second service and the BBC Board of Governors' decision to provide additional funds for BBC Wales response to devolution, including the costs of producing live coverage.

  As part of the collaboration a Joint Editorial Board will be established to agree the strategic direction of the service and to monitor its performance. This will be chaired jointly by the Controller of BBC Wales and the Chief Executive of S4C on an alternating basis.

  BBC Wales is currently advertising for an Editor for the service, who will be expected to report monthly to the Joint Editorial Board. Day to day editorial control will remain with the BBC.

  The collaboration means that the Assembly—plenary sessions and committee sessions—will be on air from the time it opens to the time the sessions close in the late afternoon. The service will be bilingual eg separate language tracks will be provided, explanatory captions will be carried in both languages, and other editorial coverage will be provided in both languages.

  The sessions will be preceded by an introduction and followed by a summary which will include interviews with Assembly members as appropriate.

  The service will be made available on digital terrestrial television as soon as regulatory clearances have been obtained. It is also anticipated that the service will be available on digital satellite television throughout the UK as well as on digital cable in Wales.

26 April 1999

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