Scotland's TV news in Gaelic is axed

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The Independent Online

Failte, seo na naidheachcan (Good evening, here is the news); but not for much longer. Scotland's Gaelic daily television news service - a key element in helping to keep the endangered language from extinction - will be axed at the end of the year. But the dwindling band of speakers should not lose heart completely. The internet is at hand.

Failte, seo na naidheachcan (Good evening, here is the news); but not for much longer. Scotland's Gaelic daily television news service - a key element in helping to keep the endangered language from extinction - will be axed at the end of the year. But the dwindling band of speakers should not lose heart completely. The internet is at hand.

The Scottish Parliament's Gaelic broadcasting committee has decided not to renew a three-year contract with Grampian Television which expires on 31 December because declining viewing figures can no longer sustain funding. Telefios was introduced in 1992 as the first Gaelic television news service. It provides two daily news bulletins and a weekly news magazine programme.

The loss of the programmes has angered supporters of Gaelic. The director of the committee, John Angus Mackay, denied that Gaelic TV news was being discarded, but said it could be some time before a replacement was screened.

Gaelic enjoys no legal status in its homeland. The language, which is among Europe's oldest, is now confined to the Western Isles and parts of the western mainland. In the 1980s, the number of Gaelic speakers fell from 80,000 to 69,000.

But Gaelic speakers may find small consolation for the loss of the television service in news that a Norwegian internet company, Opera, has reworked its main product to cater for speakers of Irish, Welsh, Breton - and Gaelic.

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