Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is to push ahead with plans to privatize Channel 4, which would mean selling the channel after 40 years in public ownership.
As reported by The guardThe government hopes to raise almost £1 billion, with the money possibly going to creative training and independent production companies.
Last year, former culture secretary Oliver Dowden said that the privatization of Channel 4 was “necessary” to “compete with the streaming giants”.
“Without [more money]Channel 4 won’t have the money to invest in technology and programming, and it won’t be able to compete with the streaming giants,” he said Sky news.
Earlier this year, Ricky Gervais spoke out against the potential sale of Channel 4, calling it “a real disgrace”.
“For almost 40 years, Channel 4 has been a launching pad for new ideas and new talent,” he wrote on Twitter. “This was possible because of his remit and non-profit structure and it would be a real shame if this were destroyed by the sale of the channel.”
Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon shared the news with staff on Monday (April 4): “We have been informed in the last hour that the Government will shortly announce that the Foreign Secretary has decided to start working with the Channel privatization proposal to proceed 4,” she wrote in an email.
“Working with the Government during their extended period of reflection, we have proposed a vision for the next 40 years that we are confident will allow us to build on the achievements of the first 40 years. This vision was rooted in continued public ownership and built on the tremendous public value this model has delivered to date and the opportunity to deliver so much more in the future.”
Many public figures have shared their anger at the news online. Caitlin Moran wrote on Twitter: “I used [sic] I think the policy was more nuanced, but these days when the government announces they’re selling Channel 4, you’re like, ‘Which of your rich buddies said they wanted to buy it?’ Is that your only idea? Sell all our stuff?”
Armando Iannucci added, “They asked for ‘a debate’; 90% of the submissions in this debate said it was a bad idea. But they go ahead anyway. Why do they want to belittle the great British television industry? Why? It makes no business, economic or even patriotic sense.”
I used to think the politics were more nuanced, but these days when the government announces they’re selling Channel 4, you’re like, “Which of your rich buddies said they wanted to buy it?” Is that your only idea? Sell all our stuff?
— Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) April 4, 2022
The news comes just days after the government appointed businessman Sir Ian Cheshire as Channel 4’s new chairman, a decision that caught other broadcasters by surprise.
A Channel 4 spokesman said the government’s announcement was made during the consultation process, which launched last year and attracted more than 60,000 submissions, “without formal acknowledgment of the significant public interest concerns that have been raised”.
“The proposal to privatize Channel 4 will require a lengthy legislative process and political debate. We will of course continue to work with DCMS, Government and Parliament to do everything we can to ensure Channel 4 continues to play its unique role in Britain’s creative ecology and national life.”
https://www.nme.com/news/tv/nadine-dorries-to-continue-with-plans-to-privatise-channel-4-3197926?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=nadine-dorries-to-continue-with-plans-to-privatise-channel-4 Nadine Dorries wants to proceed with plans to privatize Channel 4