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Welsh democratic deficit report

A report is due out soon from the National Assembly for Wales on the key findings of two recent conferences in Cardiff addressing the Welsh democratic deficit and localism – the salvation of devolution?

Wales is "sleepwalking towards a situation where there will be little, or no, plurality in the coverage of the work of the assembly", according to the assembly's presiding officer, Rosemary Butler AM.

She is concerned that "a lack of comprehensive coverage of the assembly's work could fundamentally damage devolution in Wales" and she has placed part of the blame on Fleet Street's English-centric coverage which, she says, fails to reflect policy differences between the nations.

However, a panel of Fleet Street's senior journalists put up a robust defence at the first conference, with Kevin Maguire, Mirror associate editor, saying bluntly assembly meetings were "boring" and he warned AMs they were "whistling in the wind" if they thought Fleet Street was going to change.

Later that day a panel of Wales regional editors admitted they did not have the resources to increase their political coverage.

The second conference asked: does the answer to engaging the Welsh public more in Welsh politics and the work of the assembly lie in the growth of innovative, hyper-local media sites which have sprung up in South Wales?

NUJ Welsh executive council chair, Ken Smith, founder member of the Port Talbot Magnet, and Richard Gurner, editor of the Caerphilly Observer, both conference facilitators, certainly believe they can play an important role.

They are confident media plurality in Wales is not the pipe dream some people think it is.

You can sign the media plurality petition in the campaigns section of the website.