RTÉ Chairwoman Moya Doherty has criticized the UK government’s decision to go ahead with plans to privatize Channel 4.
The move was announced by Britain’s culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, who argued this week that while she wanted the channel to retain a “cherished place in British life” she felt this was being held back.
Ms Doherty criticized the move, posting in a tweet last Tuesday: “While @NadineDorries is profitable, critical to the independent screen sector and an advocate of new thinking, @NadineDorries still plans to privatize @Channel4. Or maybe it’s because of those factors.”
RTÉ has declined to comment on whether its chairman’s view is also the channel’s position on the privatization move.
Channel 4 is state-run, but is funded by advertising, not taxpayers’ money.
It was formed in 1982 to provide programming to underserved audiences and to provide a fourth UK television service alongside BBC One and Two and ITV, a commercial broadcaster.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that government ownership is what keeps Channel 4 from competing against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon,” Ms Dorries wrote on Twitter.
“A change in ownership will give Channel 4 the tools and freedom to thrive and prosper as a public broadcaster well into the future.
“I will set out the future plan for Channel 4 in a white paper in due course.
“I will try to reinvest the proceeds from the sale to improve the creative sector, put money into independent production and creative skills in priority parts of the country – a creative dividend for all.”
The decision was heavily criticized, including by the station itself.
A public consultation on the subject received over 60,000 replies.
UK Labor Party Deputy Leader Angela Rayner called the decision “cultural vandalism”.
A spokesman for the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport said in a statement from the UK Embassy in Dublin: “We want Channel 4 to thrive and thrive in the face of a rapidly changing media landscape.
“It holds a valued place in our broadcasting landscape and we want it to stay that way.
“We have outlined our preferred option for a change of ownership to give the company new freedoms to innovate and grow while continuing to make a significant economic, social and cultural contribution to the UK.
“We will announce further details shortly.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/rte-chair-moya-doherty-critical-of-uks-channel-4-privatisation-plans-41538506.html RTÉ Chair Moya Doherty slams UK Channel 4’s privatization plans