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Bourne: A viable newspaper industry in Wales

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"I will ask some specific questions on the back of that response. First, as the Minister has indicated, 44 journalism and sales jobs are being lost at the Western Mail and South Wales Echo newspaper group, and, at this time of year, I am sure that we would all wish to offer our sympathy to the people and families affected. What is the Minister doing?

He said that he has contacted the company, but it is important that he seeks and gets an early meeting with the management to see what can be done to secure the newspaper industry in Wales.

This news comes on the back of 55 jobs lost at Cardiff just two years ago, and on the back of cuts at the Daily Post. It is important that we secure a vibrant media for Wales, just as there is in Scotland.

The Western Mail and South Wales Echo have already outsourced information technology matters outside of Wales, and have outsourced human resources to Birmingham.

That leads us to question whether there really is an intention to have a vibrant media and newspaper industry in Wales and in our capital city.

The job losses, it is worth saying, have been announced even though Trinity Mirror made a £250 million profit last year. Job losses are generally announced when a company is in financial difficulty, but that is not the case here.

Indeed, journalists within the group are saying that there is a serious question about the company's intentions with regard to news coverage in Wales, even though the Western Mail has increased its coverage and appears to be vibrant.

I would like the Minister's views on another serious issue. In a situation like this, who is guarding the guards? There is no proper coverage of this in the newspapers; there are just a couple of short paragraphs, which raises the issue of quis custodiet.

Who is going to cover these things, given that the company has a virtual monopoly of printed news coverage, certainly in the capital city, in terms of Welsh affairs?

As the Minister is aware, there has been a unanimous vote of no confidence in the chief executive, Sly Bailey.

This comes on the back of wave after wave of cuts, which seem to be wounding our newspaper industry. I urge the Minister to take the urgent steps needed to secure these jobs and the future of this industry. I hope that he will take positive action on what is a very serious issue."

"Gofynnaf rai cwestiynau penodol ar gefn yr ymateb hwnnw. Yn gyntaf, fel y nododd y Gweinidog, caiff 44 o swyddi newyddiaduraeth a gwerthu eu colli yng ngrwp papurau newydd y Western Mail and South Wales Echo ac, ar yr adeg hon o'r flwyddyn, yr wyf yn siwr y dymunai pawb ohonom gynnig ein cydymdeimlad i'r bobl a'r teuluoedd yr effeithir arnynt.

Beth mae'r Gweinidog yn ei wneud? Dywedodd ei fod wedi cysylltu â'r cwmni, ond mae'n bwysig ei fod yn ceisio ac yn cael cyfarfod cynnar gyda'r rheolwyr i weld beth y gellir ei wneud i ddiogelu'r diwydiant papurau newydd yng Nghymru.

Daw'r newyddion hyn yn fuan ar ôl colli 55 o swyddi yng Nghaerdydd ddim ond dwy flynedd yn ôl, ac yn dilyn toriadau yn y Daily Post.

Mae'n bwysig ein bod yn diogelu cyfryngau bywiog yng Nghymru, yn union fel a geir yn yr Alban. Mae'r Western Mail a'r South Wales Echo eisoes wedi anfon gwaith technoleg gwybodaeth allan o Gymru, ac wedi symud y gwaith adnoddau dynol i Birmingham.

Mae hynny'n ein harwain i holi a oes bwriad mewn gwirionedd i gael diwydiant cyfryngau a phapurau newydd bywiog yng Nghymru ac yn ein prifddinas.

Mae'n werth nodi bod y colledion swyddi wedi'u cyhoeddi er i Trinity Mirror wneud elw o £250 miliwn y llynedd. Fel arfer cyhoeddir colledion swyddi pan fydd cwmni mewn trafferthion ariannol, ond nid felly y mae hi yma.

Yn wir, mae newyddiadurwyr o fewn y grwp yn dweud fod amheuaeth gref ynghylch bwriadau'r cwmni ar gyfer darparu newyddion yng Nghymru, a hynny er bod y Western Mail wedi cynyddu ei gyrhaeddiad ac i'w weld yn ffynnu.

Hoffwn gael sylwadau'r Gweinidog ar fater difrifol arall. Mewn sefyllfa fel hon, pwy sydd yn gwarchod y gwarchodwyr?

Nid oes dim trafodaeth iawn ar hyn yn y papurau, dim ond ychydig baragraffau byr, sy'n codi cwestiwn quis custodiet. Pwy a rydd sylw i'r pethau hyn, a'r cwmni'n meddu ar fonopoli, i bob pwrpas, ar newyddion printiedig, yn sicr yn y brifddinas, o ran materion Cymreig?

Fel y gwyr y Gweinidog, cafwyd pleidlais ddiffyg hyder unfrydol yn y prif weithredwr, Sly Bailey.

Daw hyn ar gefn ton ar ôl ton o doriadau, yr ymddengys eu bod yn niweidio ein diwydiant papurau newydd. Anogaf y Gweinidog i gymryd y camau brys y mae eu hangen i ddiogelu'r swyddi hyn a dyfodol y diwydiant. Gobeithiaf y gwnaiff weithredu'n gadarnhaol ar fater sydd yn un difrifol iawn."

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