Carmichael condemns “senseless” government plan to sell off Channel 4


Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today condemned news that the government intends to privatise Channel 4, calling it a “senseless” move. The plan, announced via Twitter last night by Culture Secretary, Nadine Dorries MP, has been criticised by a range of media figures and politicians for risking undermining independent media and the funding of diverse film and television projects. Channel 4, while publicly owned, does not cost UK taxpayers anything as it is funded through advertising.

Mr Carmichael said:

“Selling off Channel 4 would be utterly senseless – which explains why this headless chicken of a government is even considering it. You might think that between war in Europe and a cost-of-living crisis at home there would be more important things to be getting on with.

“This is a classic example of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Channel 4 is a national success story, one of our cultural touchstones as a country – and it does not cost taxpayers a penny. There is no reasonable argument for privatising it short of ideological dislike. We have already seen some Tory MPs suggest that this may be some kind of ‘revenge’ for past slights. The fact that some Tory MPs have a vendetta against Channel 4, however, is not a credible excuse to flog it off.

“Infamously the Culture Secretary did not know that Channel 4 paid for itself when questioned at a parliamentary committee last year so it is hard to have much confidence in the government’s stated logic for selling. There is an incredible diversity of programming that we get from Channel 4 as it is – we must not put that at risk.”


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