Broadcasters tell Ofcom to lay off

A dispute has broken out between UK television networks and their and Ofcom over the public service remit of channels such as ITV1 and Channel 4. Ed Richards, chief executive of the media and communications regulator, signalled renewed pressure to finalise the remit of channels such as ITV1 and Channel 4, saying that the public service broadcasting debate so far had just been “shadow boxing” and that “the real debate” was starting.

At the Royal Television Society conference, Michael Grade, ITV's executive chairman, called for his company to be “left alone by regulators” as Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, warned Ofcom that one of its favoured options for the future funding of public service broadcasting was “crazy”. They both agreed that privatizing C4 would be preferable to further state subsidy. Grade called for all ITV’s public service genre quotas to be scrapped.

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