BBC's Mark Thompson's pledge on independent S4C

The director-general of the BBC has stressed his commitment to Welsh language television and an "editorially independent S4C".

Mark Thompson's comments came as he met members of the Cymdeithas Yr Iaith Gymraeg - the Welsh Language Society - independent TV producers and First Minister Carwyn Jones.

It follows the UK government's plans to fund S4C from the BBC licence fee.

"There is simply no intention to subsume S4C into the BBC," he said.

Last month, about 200 people joined a protest by Cymdeithas outside BBC Wales' Carmarthen studios.

Organisers accused BBC Wales of "betrayal" by co-operating with the "London government" to take over S4C.

Protesters want the corporation to reject taking over the funding of S4C.

The channel faces a 25% budget cut by 2015 under funding changes by Chancellor George Osborne.

'Important partnership'

Visiting Wales on Friday, along with BBC's national trustee for Wales, Elan Closs Stephens, Mr Thompson said he wanted to listen to the views of the language campaigners, and also share his own thoughts on the UK government plans.

He said: "I have stressed that the BBC is utterly committed to Welsh language provision - both through our own programmes and services, and through our important partnership with S4C.

"This commitment dates back more than half a century and is non-negotiable.

"The BBC Trust has made clear it is committed to an editorially independent S4C and ensuring that the content investment outlined in the new licence fee settlement continues to be spent on programmes produced by Wales' very successful independent sector."

Mr Thompson said that during the meeting he reiterated the point that proposals "cannot and do not amount to a BBC takeover of S4C".

The language society's chair, Bethan Williams said after the meeting that the group was still calling on the BBC to pull out of the S4C deal.

She added: "We have also asked them to pull out the discussions with S4C because they are undemocratic."

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites