Joint Committee on The Draft Communications Bill Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Comunn na Ga"idhlig

  I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of Comunn na Ga"idhlig, the government-funded National Gaelic Development Agency which is responsible for the promotion and development of the Gaelic language and culture in Scotland.

  The Board welcomes the publication of the draft Communications Bill. We are, however, extremely disappointed that no specific provision has been made in the draft Bill for the development of a co-ordinated and coherent Gaelic television broadcasting service along the lines recommended in the Milne Report Gaelic Television: A dedicated Channel. In view of the commitment given by the Government last year in the White Paper A New future of Communications, that detailed consideration would be given to the Report's recommendations, in the context of the Communications Bill, it was anticipated that a stronger commitment regarding the Government's intentions on the future for Gaelic broadcasting would be made in the Bill itself, as opposed to the reference in the accompanying Policy Statement.

  We would, therefore, urge the Committee to ensure that the proposed Communications Act should provide the necessary mechanism to facilitate a structure whereby Gaelic television broadcasting is allowed to develop through the establishment of a Gaelic Broadcasting Authority, or similar body. The body should have powers to implement the recommendations of the Milne Report in terms of both analogue and digital broadcasting, funding formula and full programme commissioning responsibilities and accountability.

  I hope that it will be possible for these views to be taken into account by the Scrutiny Committee.

  The Board of Communn na Ga"idhlig would be more than happy to participate in further discussions with the Committee should you feel this necessary.

June 2002

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