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Dorries: C4 ‘free’ of PSB status in a decade

May 19, 2022

UK DCMS Secretary Nadine Dorries says it is “laughable” that she is spearheading the sale of Channel 4 out of vengeance, though adding in the same evidence to MPs that it ‘hadn’t done itself any favours’ in a reference to an old story about Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow abusing Tory MPs.

In the session before the DCMS committee she also said any buyer of Channel 4 would be freed from its Public Service obligations in 10 years: “We are putting a time frame in for ownership as a public service broadcaster – I just wanted to confirm the number of years – it’s ten years.”

Dorries also took the opportunity to brand the BBC licence fee “unfair”.

Asked whether she personally still wanted to abolish the licence fee, she replied: “Yes, the licence fee is an unfair way of funding the BBC.” Conservative MP Damian Green asked the minister if, given she had made up her mind, the consultation was “a sham”. The minister insisted it was not, adding that it was “time for a modern, fair way of funding the BBC – what that is, I don’t have an opinion”.

Channel 4 has objected to the government’s privatisation plans, saying it was “disappointing” that ministers had made their decision despite “significant public interest concerns” over privatisation. Dorries insisted the move would allow Channel 4 to raise investment and that it was “a great time to sell”.

Chief executive of C4 Alex Mahon said privatisation would “make a negative impact on the creative industries across the UK”.

During the session, Dorries also revealed she shares her Netflix password with four other households, which is against the service’s terms and conditions.

“My mum has access to my account, the kids do. I have Netflix but there are four other people who can use my Netflix account in different parts of the country,” Dorries said, shortly later adding: “Am I not supposed to do that?”

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