Government plans to privatize Channel 4 will be reviewed, the new culture secretary has confirmed, with the sale of the channel temporarily suspended.
Michelle Donelan, who replaced Nadine Dorries as Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in Liz Truss’ first-ever cabinet, said the “business case” for selling the chain would now be reconsidered.
“As the Prime Minister has said, we need to re-examine the business case and I am certainly doing so,” Ms Donelan said. BBC Radio 4 today program.
“We are looking in particular at the business case for selling Channel 4 and making sure we are still on board with that decision.”
When asked if she was willing to review the policy, Donelan replied: “I am the type of politician who bases his decisions on evidence, who bases his decisions on listening, and that is what I will do over the next few weeks.
“I will take this approach with regard to Channel 4 and every aspect of my memoir.”
She added, “I will review the business case and announce it in due course.”
This means a U-turn could be on the cards, just months after the idea of selling the chain was initially announced.
In April, ministers concluded, after a 10-week public consultation, that public ownership risked “holding it back in the face of a competitive and rapidly changing media landscape”.
It was a move led by then Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who concluded that a “change of ownership will give Channel 4 the tools and the freedom to thrive and prosper as a broadcaster. of public service in the future”.
She added: “I will seek to reinvest the proceeds from the sale into leveling up the creative sector, putting money into independent production and creative skills in priority regions of the country – delivering a creative dividend for all.”
Any potential sale would involve the creation of new legislation, as Channel 4’s status as a public but commercially funded broadcaster is anchored in law.
The channel receives no government funding and nothing from license fees.