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DCMS tried to ‘fix wording’ of C4 accounts

July 12, 2022

The DCMS tried to intervene to alter the wording of Channel 4’s annual report to fit its privatisation plans, according to Alex Mahon, the broadcaster’s CEO.

The government is seeking to privatise Channel 4, claiming it will struggle to survive against big streaming companies such as Netflix, and has an over-reliance on TV advertising to support its business model. The policy is opposed by Channel 4’s management and board of directors. They and the broadcaster’s independent auditors signed off on the annual report in May but it is yet to be made public. Quizzed on the delay by the DCMS Select Committee, Mahon said it had been held up by officials at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

“It is fair to say the DCMS made some comments that they would have preferred to see in the report, particularly about our future financial sustainability […] Really, the questions were about whether our wording was in line with government policy […They] have now agreed it can be submitted to parliament in the normal course without any changes. The report that will arrive is the one agreed by the board,” said Mahon.

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