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.