Mind your language

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The BBC always looks into things carefully

Edwin Phillips reads an internal BBC email to staff after the huge outcry prompted by a Newsnight item asking whether Welsh was a ‘help or a hindrance?’ with two guests who did not speak the language. 

From:  The Head Of Apologies Department.

To: Staff Worried By Reaction To Programme.

Just because we have said we “regret” our item on the Welsh Language does not mean we are sorry.

BBC bosses have a grown up attitude

Look at what we said:  “We… believe it was important to look at this topic (the Welsh language) and we will do so again in the future”.

So stop worrying and hold your heads up high.

Ignore the fact that neither of the guests on the Newsnight debate in studio were Welsh speakers.

That does not matter – there is a limit to ‘balance’!

The BBC’s attitude to Welsh

After all we did say:  “Whilst different perspectives were included in this item on the Welsh language, the discussion of such an important subject would have benefited from more thorough analysis and debate”.

We said it was an ‘important subject’ there, which must surely satisfy The Welsh Language Society!

BBC journalism

Even our Arts and Media Correspondent in Wales Huw Thomas, said:   “many questions remain, among them: Why begin with a headline that talked of the ‘hindrance’ of the language? Why cast two guests who do not speak Welsh to debate the merits of the language?”.

Disregard that Alun Davies said it was “lazy” and “shoddy” journalism.

The TV broadcast upset many people

He continued to have a go at our esteemed SLIMEs (Senior Language Intensive Management Executives), and officials of DORKs (Department Of Regional Knowledge) and TITs (Territories Information Technology).

Mr Davies said:  “”This problem goes beyond Newsnight, (the) Newsnight (item) reflected the problem.

The BBC was simply discussing an issue

“But I believe the BBC’s problem goes further regarding the BBC in London’s editorial values.

“It’s a very serious question for the BBC.”

What does he know anyway?

He is only the Welsh Language Minister!

Ignore too the endless words in print and broadcast of condemnation, and that a petition was started after the report.

BBC values are secure

It means nothing that 1,500 people had signed the petition in the first 12 hours.

So go about your business with pride and remember only to interview people who speak English.


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The Eye is edited by Phil Parry. Phil is a former BBC news and current affairs reporter. He is winner of the BT Wales award for journalist of the year, BT Wales TV reporter of the year and radio reporter of the year. His programmes have won in the current affairs category of the Royal Television Society and BAFTA Cymru. Phil has presented Panorama programmes, Newsnight films and BBC 2’s Public Eye. For 10 years he was the face of BBC Wales TV current affairs programme Week in, Week Out. He was a reporter on the evening TV news programme ‘Wales Today‘ and has presented numerous daily radio programmes. Phil has also worked on local and UK newspapers. If you have a story you wish us to investigate then get in touch. We treat your disclosures in total confidence and with the journalistic integrity you would expect from our professional team.

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