Today would have seen the official launch of ‘Y Byd’, the first daily newspaper published exclusively in Welsh. Lack of financial support from public institutions has prevented the newspaper from getting up and running.
The fate of Y Byd was actually decided on 15 February, when the Welsh Assembly’s Minister for Heritage, Rhodri Glyn Thomas (Plaid Cymru), announced that only £200,000 (€260,000) of public money was available for the newspaper. The newspaper’s editors immediately announced that it would be impossible to get the project off the ground with this level of funding and that they would be forced to abandon the project.
Y Byd’s failure has had a negative impact on Plaid Cymru’s image, since some defenders of the Welsh language consider the nationalist party to have “betrayed” the Welsh cause by not rising to expectations and fully supporting the initiative.
Welsh, one of the Celtic languages, is spoken by approximately 500,000 people, enjoys legal recognition in Wales and is taught in schools. It is perhaps one of the most widely-spoken minority languages in the United Kingdom. But the presence of Welsh in the media is unremarkable. And it looks like defenders of the Welsh language will have to wait even longer for a Welsh daily newspaper.