Looks like the government wasted millions of pounds attacking a broadcaster for no reason whatsoever.

The Tories have been forced into a climbdown over Channel 4 privatisation, with Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan recommending that the government drop its plans to privatise the channel.

Her predecessor Nadine Dorries had been an advocate of privatisation, accusing the channel of not ‘doing itself any favours’ and had slamming it for being ‘edgy’. It was pretty clear however that the attacks on the channel were politically motivated as part of a series of “culture war” policies targeting the media under Boris Johnson’s leadership.

Dorries also found herself ridiculed for making a number of gaffes about the channel, including thinking Channel 4 receives public funding. Although  Channel 4 is owned by the state it is funded commercially, largely through advertising.

Having spent £2millon on the privatisation plans, the government is now being told that ‘pursuing a sale at this point is not the right decision and there are better ways to secure C4C’s [Channel 4 Corporation’s] sustainability and that of the independent production sector’. The comments were revealed in a leaked letter sent to Rishi Sunak and obtained by the News Agents Podcast.

Donelan said Channel 4’s role in supporting the independent production sector “would be very disrupted by a sale at a time when growth and economic stability are our priorities”.

Rather than selling Channel 4, Donelan proposes that the channel should be allowed to make more shows in-house and borrow money from the Treasury as this would give it “the flexibility to make some of its own content and diversify its revenue more effectively”.

Looks like the government wasted millions of pounds attacking a broadcaster for no reason whatsoever.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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