Britain’s new culture secretary, Michelle Donelan, has said she will “re-examine the business case” for privatizing Channel 4.
Her predecessor in Boris Johnson’s administration, Nadine Dorres, had pledged to get the 40-year-old alternative broadcaster out of public ownership, arguing that public ownership prevented the channel from competing with Netflix and Amazon and planned legislation for its privatization.
The decision had been met with widespread opposition from Channel 4 executives and the media industry as a whole. There were also concerns within the Conservative Party itself.
“As the Prime Minister has said, we need to re-examine the business case and I am certainly doing that,” Ms Donelan told the BBC.
“We are looking in particular at the business case for selling Channel 4 and making sure we are still on board with that decision.”
Ms Donelan, an avowed skeptic of the BBC license fee, said she would review the license fee in the coming weeks to determine whether or not it should be scrapped.
“The Prime Minister spoke in [leadership] campaign on the importance of decriminalizing non-payment of the fee – we know this particularly affects women. We know the ramifications of that,” she said.
“These are very big issues that we should be questioning and revisiting.”
The broadcaster’s coverage of Her Majesty The Queen’s death has been praised, which she says underlines how important it is to make society “sustainable” in an evolving media landscape.