Forty years after Margaret Thatcher’s government launched Channel 4 for sale, said Steven Barnett The conversation. The decision announced by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries to move forward with the legislation this year is risky and has been widely condemned as an act of “cultural vandalism”. After all, Channel 4 is “a great British success story”.
A state-owned broadcaster that does not employ its own creative staff, it commissions shows from independent production companies – a thriving sector that he has played a key role in creating. It supports more than 10,000 jobs across the UK; It is a legal requirement to encourage diversity, innovation and new talent. It doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime. And it’s turning a profit too – a “record” £74million in 2020, all of which has been put back into programmes. So why sell? According to Dorries, moving it into private hands will encourage innovation and allow it to “compete more effectively” with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
That doesn’t make any sense at all, said Ayesha Hazarika im London evening standard. Channel 4 already has a “huge streaming service”, All4, and accounts for hit shows around the world glasses box and come eat with me to dramas such as It’s a sin and comedy incl Derry girls. It’s offbeat and irreverent, but the channel also has a strong news and educational remit that could be lost if it goes “Netflix-lite.”
The only convincing explanation for privatization is that it is driven by the “instinctive hatred” of senior Tories for it Channel 4 news. Conservative MP Julian Knight, chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, suggested it was “revenge” for the news show’s “biased” coverage of Brexit and its “personal attacks” on the Prime Minister (the them through a block of ice when he didn’t show up for a climate change debate). How ridiculous to undo one of Thatcher’s greatest cultural achievements out of sheer malice.
The idea that Thatcher would oppose the privatization of Channel 4 is “ridiculous,” said Andrew Roberts in The Daily Telegraph: she would “cheer” on the plans of Dorries. Back in 1982 there were only three television channels and Thatcher wanted “a real variety of views” to be broadcast, which Channel 4 once did. Now there are 333 channels and it has become a “virulent anti-Tory, crypto-corbynite propaganda channel parroting the views of the London metropolitan establishment”. Thatcher would be embarrassed by the Frankenstein monster she created and would want it “to be exposed to the cold winds of competition, albeit some 20 years too late.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/politics/956429/channel-4-privatisation-victim-tory-spite Is Channel 4 a victim of Tory stinginess?