Channel 4 privitisation to be “re-examined”
September 20, 2022
Michelle Donelan, the UK’s new culture secretary, has said she will “re-examine the business case” for privatising Channel 4.
Donelan’s predecessor Nadine Dorries set out plans to take the broadcaster out of public ownership, and now Donelan has told BBC that she was “making sure that we still agree with that decision”.
Donelan said: “As the prime minister said, we do need to re-examine the business case and that’s certainly what I’m doing. We’re looking especially at the business case for the sale of Channel 4 and we’re making sure that we still agree with that decision […] I’m the type of politician that bases their decisions on evidence, that bases their decisions on listening, and that’s what I’ll be doing over the coming weeks.”
Donelan, who took over at the DCMS on September 7th, was also asked about BBC funding, saying it was “no secret” that she had “been a sceptic for a long time of the licence fee”.
She said the BBC’s “unique” coverage of the death and funeral of the Queen had underlined how important it was to make the corporation “sustainable” in a changing media landscape.
“For me that means it’s even more important to make sure the BBC is sustainable in the long-term,” she said. “When you look at platforms like Amazon, like Netflix, it makes you question whether in the modern-age, when the media landscape is changing so remarkably, that it is sustainable. We need to ask that question.”
She added: “The prime minister spoke in the [leadership] campaign about the importance of decriminalising not paying the licence fee – we know that it particularly impacts women. We know the ramifications of that. These are big, big issues that we should be questioning and looking at again.”