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Democratic Deficit – what role can community and digital media play in ensuring comprehensive coverage of Assembly news?

6 June 2013

The National Assembly for Wales’s Presiding Officer, Rosemary Butler AM, will welcome leading figures from the world of Welsh digital and community media to a conference at the Pierhead on 12 June.

It is the second “Addressing the Democratic Deficit in Wales” conference to be held by the National Assembly, looking at how the media covers the work of the National Assembly for Wales.

The first conference, last month, looked at how traditional media platforms, at a UK level in particular, are failing to properly appreciate and relay the huge differences in approach to public policy, in devolved fields such as health and education, to its Welsh audiences.

On June 12, the second conference will seek to explore whether Wales’s flourishing hyper-local movement of community and citizen journalism, papurau bro and prolific political bloggers is more adept at engaging people in civic and democratic issues than mainstream journalism.

“The failure of large sections of the UK media, and some in the Welsh media, to properly report the work of the National Assembly for Wales is leading to a gap in knowledge about Welsh political life,” the Presiding Officer said ahead of the conference.

“Many people in Wales access news through UK media platforms that fail to reflect the huge policy differences in public policy to their Welsh audiences.

“It means many in Wales are therefore unaware that our schools and hospitals are governed in a very different way to England.

“This session follows on from another we held last month, where we invited leading figures from the UK and Welsh media to discuss the issues.

“I now want us to move the discussion beyond the traditional media streams and explore what role the hyperlocal community could and should play in plugging this deficit.

“We should look at the success of community initiatives, their viability in the long-term, and ask what steps the Assembly should take to help galvanise more people to become active local citizens.”

The session will take the form of round-robin round-table discussions, with each table looking at specific subject areas and will be chaired by leaders in those fields. Each discussion will last around 15 minutes before facilitators move onto the next table.

The four areas are:

  • Digital media;

  • Hyperlocal newspapers, including Papurau Bro;

  • Community Radio; and

  • Local TV.

There are still a small number of spaces available for those who wish to attend. Places can be booked by contacting the Assembly Booking line on 0845 010 5500 or by emailing assembly.bookings@wales.gov.uk.

If you are unable to make it then please take part by following the conference on Twitter via #newsdeficit or #diffygnewyddion.

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